Constellations – Review by Bonnie Goldberg


The world is packed with infinite possibilities: what if you take the road less traveled, or miss the 9:05 train, or spontaneously show up at a party you weren’t supposed to attend? How might your life be altered by these seemingly random occurrences? Think of a butterfly fluttering its wings in Australia and the ripples it causes thousands of miles away. These are hundreds of “if” moments of life we face daily and they do change the course of who and what we are.

To be convinced of these phenomenons, just attend Hartford TheaterWorks’ latest offering, a boy meets girl love story by Nick Payne, called “Constellations” shining in the firmament until Sunday, February 18.

An unlikely coupe meet at a barbecue. Roland (M. Scott McLean) is a “honey” of a catch, a bee keeper, who is close to nature and its revelations. Marianne (Allison Pistorius) dapples in an existential world of theoretical physics, striving to make inroads in string theory and quantum mechanics. Is there any realm where these two can communicate and ultimately find love?

“Constellations” offers dozens of scenarios, one after the other, possible, probable, different scenes of what might or could happen as these two meet, talk and attempt to establish a relationship. With the unique use
of lighting by Philip S. Rosenberg and original music provided by Billy Bivona, we are privy to a series of “do-overs” as Roland and Marianne get their sea legs steady as they overcome obstacles and climb over objections to ultimately reach the top of the mountain where eternal love dwells.

Like a roller coaster ride that exhilarates and enchants, that terrifies and alarms, the pair of talented actors hold our hearts close to their own. They reach out to each other. They push each other away. They fumble and start over, as hope and despair fly to opposite corners.

From the moment you enter the intimate space that is Hartford TheaterWorks, you will feel disoriented as the entire stage has been reconfigured. It is now a shiny black circle in the center, like an arena, created by designer Jean Kim. Rob Ruggiero directs an involving and compelling world where love is the ultimate prize.

For tickets ($45-70), call TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Come discover if Roland and Marianne are destined to be together as the universe juggles and reconfigures their fate at every turn.