You’re waiting for the first clap and the audience instantly become like a flock of sheep. After the death of applause and the rebirth of lights, you earwig for a consensus, “Well that was different”. *Cringe* What does “different” mean? Let’s quote the Oxford Dictionary for this blog post to appear slightly intelligent…
Different: “Not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality”, “Novel and unusual” or “Distinct/separate”
….So when we describe a play as “different”, would you say this is a positive or negative term? Or perhaps it’s just a “lazy” point of view? Anyway, stuff what the audience thinks! You and your friend look at each other in hope to reach a better verdict…”Well that was different, wasn’t it?” *Sigh*
Before I praise Constellations, my thoughts whirled in the Multiverse of confusion and dislike. Becky (Becca’s Blogs) and I struggled to find the right words to describe this 70 minute play called Constellations. We even sat on the Brighton seafront with our bag of chips, waiting for an epiphany-like moment to strike.The only striking thing was the lightning in the far distance! Wrapped up in my duvet, I visualised being back in the theatre and watched the play again. Before sleep kidnapped me, I jotted my notes down: “The set was from Disney Pixar’s Up” and “It was mind-bendingly brilliant”.
Like every beginning of a play, you become like Sherlock Holmes gathering clues from what you can see on the stage. For Constellations, it was floating white balloons! I must admit I secretly wished one of them to pop and make the backstage crew burst into panic mode…such an evil thought! Throughout the play, the balloons changed colour in order to signify the change of emotion and transportation to another universe. Gathered like clusters of planets, stars or clouds, it was an incredibly haunting and heavenly-like set, which served as a poignant visual for Marianne’s deathly demands.
With its simple boy meets girl scenario, it’s a play based upon what-ifs, freewill, opportunity, time and choice. Every scene, your heart gets screwed over! You begin to rejoice in their blossoming relationship, and then BAM, you’re whisked off to another possibility. Funnily enough, I attended a business event, where a speaker, Winsome Duncan, demanded the audience to say “TIME” to which she responded “How much time do we have left?” I know it’s incredibly morbid, but I think it is a lesson we can all easily forget.
Constellation‘s stopping, starting, repeating, rewinding, changing, pausing, improving and fast forwarding was its unique selling point. I guess it can be kind of frustrating for an audience to watch the same scene, but the clever mind twist of a different scenario earned a few giggles. It was like expecting the expected, but then the expected transformed into the unexpected….you get me?
Louise Brealey (Marianne) and Joe Armstrong (Roland) were brilliant pace masters. Constantly orbiting around each other, the play mapped their tender yet humorous love story assigned to Marianne’s tragic fate. Repeating their lines sporadically with a slight word change, their lover’s tiff moments created a series of mini big bangs onstage. I loved the fact that Brealey was owning the stage with her comical gestures and language. I was waiting for elements of her Sherlock character, Molly, to shine through, but I believe she has a gift in playing the vulnerable, frustrated and intelligent young woman. Personally, it’s always a pleasure to watch a strong female character dominate and demand the audience to stick with her.
This play has made an absolute mess of my notebooks and mind (hence the title!), but my scribbling, writing, typing, editing, deleting, rehearsing and cursing verified that the play was totally worth it!
Constellations has now transferred to Trafalgar Studios for 3 weeks! Check the July 2015 dates here.