"Imagine rolling a dice 6,000 times…" – Marianne, Constellations by Nick Payne
Is our universe the only one? Are there an infinite number of universes being born within infinite space, all with infinite possibilities? According to the laws of nature, the fundamental ingredients are the same everywhere. If that's so, then does it not stand to reason that if there are infinite other worlds, we'd find ones where everything is the same as our own, aside from a few subtle differences? These questions and more are being posed right now in the thought-provoking play Constellations.
"Let's say that ours really is the only universe that exists. There's only one unique me and one unique you. If that were true, then there could only ever really be one choice. But if every possible future exists, then the decisions we do and don't make will determine which of these futures we actually end up experiencing." – Marianne, Constellations by Nick Payne
Playwright Nick Payne was inspired by one of my favourite documentaries, The Fabric of the Cosmos presented by Doctor Brian Greene, to pen the tale in which we're treated to multiple possible outcomes of a couple's love story as seen in different universes within our multiverse. It's fitting that a play which deals with such mind (and universe) expanding scientific theories should be staged just in time for Science Week. It's no accident (at least, it's not in this universe).
"I have to say tonight has been a highlight, not just because it is a beautiful and astonishing play but because it also highlights a beautiful partnership between Queensland Museum and Queensland Theatre," said Professor Suzanne Miller, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Queensland Museum Network and Queensland's Chief Scientist.
"It's our first event as part of the Brisbane Science Festival, which is all about celebrating an extravaganza of the entanglement between the arts and the sciences, and that's exactly what Constellations was all about."
"The language of science doesn't necessarily come easily to most people… our point of distinction is in bringing the arts to bear on science. To use performance, to use art to help interpret and to help people come into science in a way that may be unexpected, that might be confrontational, but which is always fun."
"That set was a mathematical marvel – and difficulty," said Kat, "It really was a deeply complex thing to realise. It looks deceptively simple. You look at it and it's a surface but it's a very complicated surface."
"There was a moment when I was watching the show tonight, just towards the end of the show," said Queensland Theatre Artistic Director, Sam Strong, "A couple in front of me held each other's hand at the climactic scene in the show and I think that very simple gesture says an enormous amount about this show's capacity to touch people."
For the record, my partner and I were not sitting in front of Sam. It seems I wasn't the only one moved by Constellations. If you'd like to be moved too, book your tickets now.
Those who are triggered by adult themes including euthanasia or salty language and low level clothed (seriously you won't blush if you're seeing the play with nanna) sex scenes might want to stay away. For help or information about these topics call Lifeline on 131 114, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or SuicideLine on 1300 651 251.
BONUS! Know Your Multiverse