Saturday, October 08, 2016


Centaur Theatre /48th Season
October 6 - 30, 2016

Play written by Nick Payne
Directed by Peter Hinton 

Centaur Theatre opens its 48th season with Constellations, the winner of the London’s Evening Standard Best Play Award. It is a tale of two people finding love in a theoretical quantum-physics multi-universes. The play made waves on both sides of the Atlantic: in London’s West End (2012), and on Broadway (2015). It was written by the British playwrite Nick Paine, and it is directed by the accomplished Canadian director Peter Hinton, the former Artistic Director of the NAC English Theatre and recent META nominee.

The main female character Maranne, a quantum physicist, formulates clearly the main premisses on which the play is based:
Marianne: In the quantum multiverse, every choice, every decision you’ve ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.

If you accept the theory of the multiverses, then you will be greatly amused with the variations and permutations of the characters' fragmented experiences and their reactions to them. You will see the physicist Marianne and the bee keeper Roland going on a journey through parallel worlds where they fall in, and sometimes out of love over and over again in a multitude of ways. Every choice creates a different, life-altering outcome in their relationship. 

Bit even if you do not believe in the theoretical multiverses, you will be amazed to discover what a myriad of possibilities each relationship presents, and how the variations on the way people choose to react to the reality or how they select to express their free will alter the outcome of their relationship and create different life scenarios. The play is a multifaceted, kaleidoscopic succession of episodes on how the same loving relationship could play out under different circumstances, or how it could be altered because of the personal choices the characters decide to make.

Whatever are your believes, keep in mind that the theory of multiverses is only a Quantum Mechanics theory, not a law like the Newton's Laws of Thermodynamics. Those theories have not yet been proven to become the physic's laws. Almost all theories are either significantly elaborated upon, changed, or totally discarded later on in the future.

Also consider what the spiritual mystics had claimed throughout the ages that multiverses do exist but are in the spiritual realms, and that we are all spiritual beings in control of our choices that are defined or even limited by the physical reality in which we exist. 

It is also interesting to note that in all 5 or 6 multiverses portrayed in the play, Marianne, regardless of her proclamations of infinite possibilities and outcomes in the different physical universes in which she firmly believes she simultaneously exists, develops brain tumour, and only in one of them it is benign. In all the other ones, it is the same type of spread-out multiple brain tumour from which the father of the playwrite Nick Payne died, and which is also going to lead to Marianne's death. Somehow, this does not appear to support too well the Marrianne's proclamations of the multiple possibilities with the multiple outcomes in the hypothetical multiverses. Even benign brain tumours continues to grow, are very difficult to operate, and eventually lead to death, though in a slower scenario than the cancerous ones.

There are only two actors on the stage with a cellist in the background who helps with the tonal accents to separate the fragmented episodes from different universes from each other, delineating the beginning and the end of each successive experience. The play is 85 minutes long without an intermission.  

Nick Payne wrote Constellations in the aftermath of his father’s death, after watching Brian Greene’s documentary The Elegant Universe, an exploration of the quantum mechanics theory which postulates the existence of eleven space-time dimensions. He described Constellations as a dramatized attempt to reconcile “the urge to remember versus the need to forget”.

Peter Hinton, the play's director, elaborated:
"Constellations is a play in which this science is explored through the varied possible lives of a single couple. As we follow Roland and Marianne through breaking up and staying together, moving in and going their separate ways, having affairs and monogamy, we also see romance interrupted and tested by death; it is a love story both celebrated and mourned.”

The Centaur Theatre’s Artistic and Executive Director Roy Surette stated this about the play:
“Constellations is the poster play for our “Swept Away” season slogan, transporting audiences from the world we know to multiple universes where this ordinary couple’s awkward, humorous and ultimately touching relationship develops in countless directions. We are proud to introduce this simple yet beautiful story to English Canada for the first time with our partners, Canadian Stage, and are so fortunate to have Peter direct. What a perfect artistic match in any universe! His vision is always innovative and surprising; and he’s put together a celestial group of artists." 

Graham Cuthbertson returns to Centaur as Roland, a somewhat awkward bee-keeper.

Cara Ricketts, a Toronto actress, makes her Centaur debut as a studious quantum physicist, Marianne. Cara’s previous credits include work with Soulpepper Theatre and several Stratford Festival seasons. She is also known for her role as Bertilda in the popular TV series, Book of Negroes.

Michael Gianfrancesco, who has designed for theatre, opera and dance across the country, as well as for both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals, created the sets and costumes. Andrea Lundy, a 9-time Dora Award-winner and 28-year theatre veteran, brought her considerable experience to the production’s lighting design. Centaur’s Audio Engineer, Peter Cerone, who has been designing for dance, theatre, art installations and more since 1980, contributed the sound design. Michael Hart, another Stratford alumnus who has worked with Peter Hinton several times, is the stage manager, assisted by Jacynthe Lalonde. Stephanie Costa assisted Mr. Hinton and Montreal performer, recording artist and teacher, Jane Chan, plays the cello live. 

Click on images to enlarge them.
Hover your mouse over images for description and credits.

Production Team:

Actors Graham Cuthbertson and Cara Ricketts
Cellist Jane Chan
Set & Costume Designer Michael Gianfrancesco 
Lighting Designer Andrea Lundy
Sound Designer Peter Cerone
Fight Director Jean-François Gagnon
Stage Manager Michael Hart
Assistant Stage Manager Jacynthe Lalonde
Assistant to the Director Stephanie Costa

Sunday October 9th at 12:30pm.
Free coffee and biscotti offered by Season Sponsor Bonaparte Restaurant.
Admission is FREE!

Get behind the scenes with Constellations’ two actors after the evening performance on Thursday Oct. 13th and after the matinée on Sunday Oct. 16th.

For more information, visit the Centaur Theatre website.

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