With Exact Resemblance bringing Nick Payne’s Constellations to the Vancouver theatre scene, actor Gillian Clare reflects on how theatre can be balm for trying times
Constellations has been a long time coming for me. I first read the play five years ago, and was immediately struck by its heart, style, and cleverness. I was supposed to do this play in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic had other plans. As we dive into Constellations rehearsals, I am reminded of how, since that time, reading and re-reading Nick Payne’s exquisite script has provided a kind of refuge and comfort.
Theatre (good theatre) can do that. I think of the plays I’ve turned to when I’ve craved understanding and hope, or when I’ve wanted to better understand others’ perspectives, channel anger, or just laugh. I think of David Hare’s Skylight, which captures the pressures of conflicting worldviews on personal relationships. I think of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present…, which examines historical and current complicity in systems of oppression. I think of Hamlet. I think of Cabaret.
The New York Times showed that in 2023, audiences clung to intimate, comforting, thoughtful, inspiring stories.
But in the past five years, I’ve mainly thought of Constellations. I recently read an article from The New York Times' Brooks Barnes, which examined the box office trends of 2023. The conclusion? Audiences clung to intimate, comforting, thoughtful, inspiring stories: more Barbie, less Marvel. As we embark on Constellations, I hope Vancouver theatre audiences will get what they need from the show, whether it be a good laugh, a good cry, or a cozy, quiet place to turn off their screens, tune out the noise, and be in the moment.
CONSTELLATIONS is presented by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing, LLC, servicing the Dramatists Play Service collection. (www.dramatists.com)