Quote of the Day: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s third law of physics. The first law is an object that is at rest, remains at rest, or travels at the same velocity unless acted upon by another force. And, the second law has to do with mass and acceleration. I am not a scientist. I didn’t even take physics. I am a word person and a musician. I am also a living being in this great universe where we are all bounced around like the molecules and atoms that make up our being. (I did take chemistry back in high school. I enjoyed making the molecules out of the colorful tinker toys.) As we’re floating around in time and space our molecules are sometimes attracted to each other. Sometimes, we cling to each other, and other times we are repelled. What we say and do, our actions, cause reactions in others and ourselves. Each tiny decision creates change and motion.
Whew, and that’s my science lesson for the day and summary of the play Constellations by Nick Payne, a modern play by a British playwright. You can read an interview with him after the play’s London opening at The Guardian. Born in 1984, he barely remembers a time before the internet, information at our fingertips, and living a very public life via social media. All these things come into play in his interstellar reflection about the universe, love, and the varying outcomes of our choices. In this two character play, the actors Anna Sundberg and Ron Menzel, brilliantly playing Marianne and Roland, a pair of star-crossed lovers (I couldn’t help myself) say the same lines over and over again, in a series of takes and retakes. Sort of like, but what if I said it this way, then he’d react that way, and this would happen, unless, I changed my tone here, and he his stance there, then everything would be different.
This is one of those plays where I wish I could bring home a script and study it. It’s circular storytelling throws you off kilter at times, and gives you much food for thought. I felt like I didn’t really have anything to grab onto. As soon as I thought I had a hold on the story, it shifted, leaving me floating and reaching once again. On my drive back home, under a starry night, I found my mind wandering back to that age old question: What if I had taken a different path at a critical crossroad of life? Where would I be now? Would my children exist? Would I know the same people and would they mean the same to me, and I to them? And, if I weren’t here, who would be teaching all those kids piano and theatre classes? Unlike the play, or any story like this (think Ground Hog Day), you can’t go back for a retake. This is the path you’re on.
Director Gary Gisselman writes in his director’s notes, “I am pleased to direct in Sarah’s first season [at the Jungle] a new play whose only stage direction is ‘with every change of font there is a change of universe.’ And there are sixty changes.” Constellations is playing at The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis through May 29. Surely, in one of your multi-verses you are attending this unique production. If so, drop back here, or to my Play off the Page Facebook page, and let me know what you think.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Go back in your history and rewrite your future, or not. Maybe you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.