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Constellations: Theater review by Adam Feldman
Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson are the stars of Constellations, and as that implies, they must make themselves multiple. Inspired by quantum mechanics, Nick Payne’s captivating play, directed crisply by Michael Longhurst, explores the idea of parallel universes in a mosaic of scenes that often restart and branch off in new directions, skipping forward and backward in time. “Every decision you’ve ever and never made” creates a different reality, and the play shows us fragments of some of them. It puts narrative in a house of infinite shattered mirrors.
Beekeeper Roland (Gyllenhaal) and cosmologist Marianne (Wilson) are on-again, off-again lovers: in some worlds on, in some worlds off. Their relationship and its challenges—infidelity, illness, death—vary in ways that sometimes reflect nuances of their behavior and sometimes stem from forces beyond their control (which may not be such different things). Informed by authors like Jorge Luis Borges and Caryl Churchill, Constellations is smart but not dry; its focus is on the personal and emotional, and Gyllenhaal and Wilson reboot themselves convincingly at every stutter and turn. They’re wonderfully multiversatile.—Adam Feldman
Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam