Constellations | Steppenwolf Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Constellations The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 3 2016

Cribbing string theory and pulp sci-fi, British playwright Nick Payne posits a world where every choice you make or fail to make generates an alternate you in an alternate universe. Thus he presents sequential iterations of lovers Marianne (a quantum cosmologist) and Roland (a beekeeper), all played by Jessie Fisher and Jon Michael Hill, enacting multiple, slightly altered relationship moments. Roland proposes five times, for example, and gets a definitive yes only once. For those inclined to moon over life’s what-ifs, Payne’s unchallenging observations—e.g., bad timing, bad moods, and terminal illnesses can screw up relationships—may hold allure. But by design, nothing of consequence can happen, and the characters can’t develop beyond momentary possibilities. It’s a 70-minute acting exercise. Still, Jessie Fisher’s astute, hair-trigger performance as Marianne is a marvel. —Justin Hayford

Price: $64-$82

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