In Review: Theatre Nova’s “Constellations” is a complex, captivating and winning formula

Did you take high school physics? I did. And while I considered it mildly interesting, I was a science nerd before I became a journalist, I don’t think I’d ever call it entertaining.

So you might think: “How could a play based on quantum physics be compelling enough for my Saturday night?”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Easy — two incredible, charismatic actors who effortlessly draw the audience in and the fact that the physics is mixed with an enthralling love story.

Meghan VanArsdalen played female lead, Marianne. Her performance was captivating. The words she spoke were real and believable, seemingly not just from a script, but from her heart. But what spoke to me the most were her animated facial expressions. She conveyed the story through her eyes, a coveted acting trait.

Forrest Hejkal played male lead, Roland. Similar to VanArsdalen, his talent was enchanting and his performance authentic. Hejkal made Roland a character everyone will love — a genuine and endearing guy. He also designed the set, one that properly established the atmosphere for the show.

Forrest Hejkal and Meghan VanArsdalen are brilliant in Theatre Nova’s “Constellations.”

Chemistry between VanArsdalen and Hejkal was nothing short of stellar and had me believing the two are actually soulmates. Furthermore, both transitioned seamlessly between the spectrum of emotions — happiness, humor, sadness, anger — they needed to display from scene to scene, universe to universe.

The physics lessons included in the show were not overbearing and character Marianne’s enthusiasm for the subject made it fun.

This play demonstrated the theory of a multiverse — a hypothetical set of alternate universes —showing the interactions and outcomes of Roland and Marianne’s relationship after different choices in different universes. If you aren’t aware of this from the beginning, you may be confused by the repetitive nature of the characters’ lines ending with slightly different courses of action each time. VanArsdalen explains the multiverse about 15 minutes in, but before that, I was a little confused by the repetition.

Lighting is key. Watch the lighting changes for the signal of a universe shift. Once I realized that, I was able to be completely immersed in the show. Props to lighting designer, Daniel C. Walker, for his work.

Physics aside, “Constellations,” presented very real, relatable relationship scenarios the audience can learn from and connect with.

Seeing a show at Theatre Nova is a wondrous experience. And this time, I was lucky enough to attend with a sold-out crowd on opening night, making the audience interaction in this intimate venue even more powerful.

When deciding whether or not to make it a family affair or date night, consider “Constellations” uses the “F” word many times throughout and mentions sex. Older kids will enjoy the humor, but keep the young ones home.

Above all, the show is funny! VanArsdalen and Hejkal kept my husband and I, as well as the entire audience, laughing throughout. As I looked around, I saw so many smiles of pure enjoyment.

“Constellations” is playing now through Feb. 18 with show times at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Purchase tickets here: https://www.artful.ly/theatre-nova/store/events/11379

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