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Authors: Nick Payne

Constellations

BOOK: Constellations
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For Minna
Dedicated to Dad

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Chris Campbell, Jim Carnahan, Dominic Cooke, Lucy Cullingford, Lee Curran, Lucy Davies, Vicky Featherstone, Simon Godwin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daisy Haggard, Sally Hawkins, Kate Horton, Mike Longhurst, Annie MacRae, David McSeveny, Lynne Meadow, Tom Scutt, Simon Slater, Rafe Spall, Vanessa Stone, Catherine Thornborrow, Evanna White, Ruth Wilson, all of the staff at Manhattan Theatre Club and all of the staff at the Royal Court Theatre.

Professor John D. Barrow, Steve Benbow, Cancer Research UK's Information Nurses, Professor Mike Duff, Dr John Gribbin, Professor Andrew Liddle, Silvan Luley and Ludwig A. Minelli (Dignitas), Duncan Macmillan, Dave Moore, Dr Kathy Romer and Charlie Swinbourne.

Ben Hall and Lily Williams at Curtis Brown.

Mum.

I would like to acknowledge the following books and their authors:
On Being
by Peter Atkins,
The End of Time
by Julian Barbour,
The Book of Universes
by John D. Barrow,
From Eternity to Here
by Sean Carroll,
Beekeeping
by Andrew Davies,
Sum
by David Eagleman,
The Immortalization Commission
by John Gray,
The Elegant Universe
and
The Hidden Reality
by Brian Greene,
In Search of the Multiverse
by John Gribbin,
The Memory Chalet
by Tony Judt,
The Oxford Companion to Cosmology
by Andrew Liddle and John Loveday,
Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction
by John Polkinghorne and
The Trouble with Physics
by Lee Smolin.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge ‘A Memoir of Living with a Brain Tumour' by Tom Lubbock, originally published in
The Observer
, November 2010.

 

CONTENTS

Title Page

Copyright Notice

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Epigraphs

Begin Reading

Also by Nick Payne

About the Author

Copyright

 

Constellations
had its world premiere at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Sloane Square, London, on January 13, 2011.

MARIANNE
   Sally Hawkins

ROLAND
   Rafe Spall

DIRECTOR
   Michael Longhurst

DESIGNER
   Tom Scutt

LIGHTING DESIGNER
   Lee Curran

COMPOSER
   Simon Slater

SOUND DESIGNER
   David McSeveney

CASTING DIRECTOR
   Amy Ball

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
   Sam Caird

PRODUCTION MANAGER
   Tariq Rifaat

BSLBT CONSULTANT
   Daryl Jackson

STAGE MANAGERS
   Rhiannon Harper, Bryan Paterson

STAGE MANAGEMENT WORK PLACEMENT
   Amy Burkett

COSTUME SUPERVISOR
   Iona Kenrick

 

The American premiere of
Constellations
was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Producer) and the Royal Court Theatre, by special arrangement with Ambassador Theatre Group and the Dodgers, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The first performance was on December 16, 2014.

MARIANNE
   Ruth Wilson

ROLAND
   Jake Gyllenhaal

DIRECTOR
   Michael Longhurst

SCENIC AND COSTUME DESIGNER
   Tom Scutt

LIGHTING DESIGNER
   Lee Curran

SOUND DESIGNER
   David McSeveney

MOVEMENT DIRECTOR
   Lucy Cullingford

ORIGINAL MUSIC
   Simon Slater

CASTING
   Jim Carnahan and Nancy Piccione

STAGE MANAGER
   Peter Wolf

 

 

 

 

CHARACTERS

Marianne

Roland

 

The reductionist worldview
is
chilling and impersonal. It has to be accepted as it is, not because we like it, but because that is the way the world works.

Steven Weinberg in Brian Greene,
The Elegant Universe

Science continues to be a channel for magic – the belief that for the human will, empowered by knowledge, nothing is impossible. This confusion of science with magic is not an ailment of a kind that has a remedy. It goes with modern life. Death is a provocation to this way of living, because it marks a boundary beyond which the will cannot go.

John Gray,
The Immortalization Commission

Why should the universe have a purpose? The question of the purpose of the universe is an invention of human minds, and has no significance, except for the way that it illuminates the psychology of scholarly pursuit and of the pursuing scholars themselves. We should not impose human-inspired attitudes and questions on material things. There is a considerable grandeur, I think, in the presence of our spectacularly majestic universe just hanging there, wholly without purpose.

Peter Atkins,
On Being

 

 

An indented rule indicates a change in universe.

 

 

Marianne
   Do you know why it's impossible to lick the tips of your elbows? They hold the secret to immortality, so if you could lick them, there's a chance you'd be able to live forever. But if everyone did it, if everyone could actually lick the tips of their elbows, then there'd be chaos. Because you can't just go on living and living and living.

Roland
   I'm. I'm in a relationship. So. Yeah.

*   *   *

Marianne
   Do you know why it's impossible to lick the tips of your elbows? They hold the secret to immortality, so if you could lick them, there's a chance you'd be able to live forever. But if everyone did it, if everyone could actually lick the tips of their elbows, then there'd be chaos. Because you can't just go on living and living and living.

Roland
   I've. I've just come out of a really serious relationship. So. Yeah.

Marianne
   I was just making conversation.

Roland
   Sure.

Marianne
   Just trying to start a conversation.

Roland
   No, sure. But. Still.

*   *   *

Marianne
   Do you know why it's impossible to lick the tips of your elbows? They hold the secret to immortality, so if you could lick them, there's a chance you'd be able to live forever. But if everyone did it, if everyone could actually lick the tips of their elbows, then there'd be chaos. Because you can't just go on living and living and living.

Roland
   Oh right.

Marianne
   Try it.

Roland
   What's that?

Marianne
   Your elbows, try licking them.

Roland
   I'm all right.

Marianne attempts to lick her elbows, demonstrating the difficulty.

Marianne
   I'm Marianne.

Roland
   Roland.

Marianne
   Thank God the rain's held off.

Roland
   Yeah.

Marianne
   Nothing worse than a soggy barbecue.

Roland
   Yeah.

Marianne
   Soggy sausages. Would you like a drink?

Roland
   I'm all right. My wife's actually just gone to get me a beer.

*   *   *

Marianne
   Try it.

Roland
   What's that?

Marianne
   Your elbows, try licking them.

Marianne attempts to lick her elbows, demonstrating the difficulty. Roland, initially hesitant, also attempts to lick his elbows.

Roland
   See what you mean. I'm Roland.

Marianne
   Marianne.

Roland
   Shame about the rain.

Marianne
   Nothing worse than a soggy barbecue.

Roland
   So are you, are you a friend of Jane's or –

Marianne
   No, Jane, yeah. We were at college together.

Roland
   Right.

Marianne
   Yourself?

Roland
   My wife used to work with Jane.

*   *   *

Marianne
   Your elbows, try licking them.

Marianne attempts to lick her elbows, demonstrating the difficulty. Roland, initially hesitant, also attempts to lick his elbows.

Roland
   See what you mean. I'm Roland.

Marianne
   Marianne.

Roland
   Shame about the rain.

Marianne
   Nothing worse than a soggy barbecue.

Roland
   So are you, are you a friend of Jane's or…?

Marianne
   Who's Jane?

Roland
   Jane's the – She's the lady having the barbecue?

Marianne
   Oh, right, Christ, no. I was just walking past and I saw a load of free booze and sausages. I'm joking.

Roland
   Right.

Marianne
   Jane and I were at college together. How about you?

Roland
   I play football with Tom.

Marianne
   Tom?

Roland
   Jane's brother-in-law. Bluey-green T-shirt.

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   D'you want a drink?

Marianne
   I'm fine. Thanks.

Roland
   So what do you, what do you do? For a living.

Marianne
   I work at Sussex University.

Roland
   Right. Great.

Marianne
   Yourself?

Roland
   I'm a beekeeper.

Marianne
   Really?

Roland
   Yeah, yeah.

Marianne
   You're really a beekeeper?

Roland
   I'm really a beekeeper.

Marianne
   I fucking love honey.

Roland
   Oh really?

Marianne
   Spoon. Jar of honey. Heaven.

Roland
   What sort of honey do you normally go for?

Marianne
   I'm too embarrassed.

Roland
   How d'you mean?

Marianne
   Too embarrassed to tell you.

Roland
   Why's that?

Marianne whispers the following into Roland's ear: ‘I like Tesco. The really dirty stuff, the prison stripe stuff.'

Roland
   That's all right.

Marianne
   Really?

Roland
   Of course.

Marianne
   I'm not putting honest, hard-working beekeepers out of business?

Roland
   Wouldn't've thought so.

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