Relationships are a major part of our lives and each of us have looked back at the ones we have either enjoyed or hated thinking what could I have done differently? What could have happened if I had done______? Or what might have taken place if she had done_______?. Nick Payne’s two person play, now making its Chicago premiere upstairs at Steppenwolf Theatre, “Constellation”. This is the story of a bee keeper, Roland (Jon Michael Hill) and a physicist, Marianne (Jessie Fisher), who meet at a party. It could be a bar-b-que, or even a wedding, but once they meet, we get to watch their relationship blossom into a full fledged romance, or is it only a brief affair. In fact, does this chance meeting go anywhere, or for that matter, even take place?
Payne’s words take us on an 80 minute non-stop journey into what might take place between these people, or NOT! Under the smooth direction of Jonathan Berry on the most simplistic of sets (Joe Schermoly) with great lighting effects (Heather Gilbert) and wonderful sound and original music (Christopher Kriz), we sit back and watch these two powerful actors reel us in to their story. I realize that the playwright is British, but once again, ask the question, does the play require an accent by the actors? Couldn’t this chance meeting take place in Iowa ? Or in Boston? someplace where the conversations that they snap off quickly would be more understandable, and the comic touches would be caught by more audience members would make more sense.
These are solid actors, with superb direction taking us on a journey that might have more meaning to the audience if they truly understood the words as they were spoken. For me, the 80 minutes (no intermission) might have been better off being 60 minutes. I know that there were audience members who lost focus on the story telling somewhere around the half-way mark, and that may have lost some of them for the ending, which was a thing of beauty. I would have loved to rate this show higher, but due to my finding myself bored at times, could not , in all honesty do this. I would love to hear back from readers on your take.
“Constellations” will continue at Steppenwolf Theatre, Upstairs, thru July 31st with performances as follows:
Wednesdays 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.
Tickets range from $20-$89 and are available at the box office at 1650 N. Halsted Street , by calling 312-335-1650 or online at www.steppenwolf.org
Specials: same day twenty at $20 seats
Tuesdays- $35 using the code TUESDAYS
Rush tickets are half price one hour prior
students at $15 (limited number) subject to availability limit two with ID
American Sign Language performance 6/17
Open Caption 6/25
AD/TT Audio Description/touch tour- 6/26
Come a bit early and enjoy the new lounge at 1700 N. Halsted, The Front. Snacks and drinks in a theatrical, friendly atmosphere. The pizza is interestingly tasty.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click “Constellations”