Student-led “Constellations” shoots for the stars

Xavier Strong

Love is in the air this week at Washburn.

“Constellations” follows the story of would-be lovers Roland (Aaron Uhlrig) and Marianne (Darria Dennison) as they stumble through their initial chance encounter, to the culmination of their relationship. Helmed by Alexander Laughlin, student director, the production focuses on themes of the infinite possibilities for love, heartbreak and personal success.

“Constellations” caught Dennison’s eye two years ago when she directed it for a student workshop and subsequently fell in love with it. 

“That’s how [Dennison] got me hooked on it too,” Laughlin said. “I read it on the plane when the theatre group went to London, and found it really interesting. It’s not a normal, conventional play that you are used to seeing, and that’s what I really liked about it. It can be done in so many different ways.”

Uhlrig felt that playing Roland, the hapless beekeeper, felt close to home for him. 

“The first conversation I ever had with Darria was about Constellations,” Uhlrig said. “Roland has to really, really pay attention to get what Marriane is saying, and I felt the same way when I started this show, because I literally had no idea what was going on when [Dennison] and [Laughlin] were discussing the show.”

“I’ve always had huge interest in general relativity, quantum mechanics, physics and astrophysics,” Dennison said.

One of Dennison’s favorite things is to see science and theatre come together, although science is not the topic of this show, it takes the form of the show, in the form of the multiverse.

“The multiverse is the arena in which you can explore this couple’s relationship and all of the different directions it can go,” Dennison said. “It’s all about the choices we do and don’t take. The two very different worlds of beekeeping and cosmology is the most interesting combination you could possibly have.”

Laughlin hopes “that the audience realizes their own personal patterns of decision making; how a single choice you do or don’t make can affect where you will end up down the road.”

This is not a show you want to miss. It opens this weekend, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28, 29 and 30 and 2:30 p.m. Oct 1 at the Neese Gray Theatre.