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Review: Sweet, Romantic and Tragic CONSTELLATIONS at the Seattle Rep

Alexandra Tavares and Max Gordon Moore in
Constellations at Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Photo credit: Alan Alabastro

Who hasn't wanted a "do-over" when on a date? Maybe you say the wrong thing, maybe you run into your ex or maybe you trip the waiter, which causes him to knock over a flaming dessert that burns the restaurant to the ground. We've all been there, right? Well according to Nick Payne's beautiful play "Constellations", currently playing at the Seattle Rep, we might take solace in that there are multiple universes with multiple versions of us who might say or do something a little different.

Roland (Max Gordon Moore), a sweet natured beekeeper, and Marianne (Alexandra Tavares), a quirky cosmologist, have just met at a rainy barbecue and there's an instant bit of chemistry, or maybe there's not, or maybe they're just scared. But they finally go out and Marianne invites Roland up to her flat, or maybe she doesn't, or maybe he just sleeps on the couch. No, I didn't fall asleep in the show and just didn't catch what was going on. Payne's play takes a look at this tumultuous relationship from its inception but through the lens of many different possible outcomes as the couple constantly starts their conversations, moments, and timelines over and over again. And it's never quite the same each time as different choices or circumstances surrounding them constantly change. Each version leads them closer together (and sometimes tears them apart) ultimately leading to a tragically beautiful end.

Payne's play takes on a typical romantic comedy and turns it on its head as it weaves in and out of the couple's timelines shuttling back and forth in time until we end with a complete picture (or actually several complete pictures) of the couple's lives. Payne gives a stunningly honest and real portrayal of real life with some beautifully rich dialog and a touching story. And director Desdemona Chiang takes on this simple yet quite complex two-person dialog and keeps the pacing and staging quite fluid and engaging.

Moore and Tavares bring some gorgeous chemistry to the roles and each of them show off stunning performances with their ever changing arcs. You can see their relationship and characters change throughout the piece but even as the timelines shift back and forth you're always certain where and when they are.

A sweet and engaging atypical romance with an ending that will tear your heart out. Yeah, bring the tissues. And so with my three letter rating system I give "Constellations" a slightly weepy yet satisfied sigh of a YAY. Whatever timeline or universe you may be in, you should make the choice to see this one. A lovely romance with a brain.

"Constellations" performs at the Seattle Rep through February 21st. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Rep box office at 206-443-2222 or visit them online at

From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)

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