SLE Constellations

The Theatre Arts students participated this year in the virtual Manhattan Theatre Club Core Education program of the Broadway Production of “Constellations”, by Nick Payne, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson. As part of this program, our students participated in various workshops based on the play “Constellations” designed by Manhattan Theatre Club education director David Shookhoff, and taught by their Theatre teacher Raluca Shields. During the workshops they acted, read, improvised and wrote their own scenes inspired by Nick Payne’s new play, and they viewed the Broadway performance of Nick Payne’s “Constellations”.

The culmination of the program was a virtual performance of the students’ play “Thin Ice”, County Prep’s own Mini Constellations, which was curated and narrated by David Shookhoff and performed by MTC’s professional actors, Turma Mete and Alcides Costa. The program concluded with an enriching class discussion reflecting both on the students’ creation as well as on the Broadway show.

“Constellations,” a two-character drama, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, playing a bee-keeper and Ruth Wilson, playing a Cambridge University cosmologist, is reviewed by the NYTimes as “the most sophisticated date play Broadway has seen”, “a 70-minute fugue-like production”, that “takes that most elemental of dramatic setups — boy meets girl — and then spins it into a seeming infinitude of might-have-been alternatives.”

The play, performed at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, weaves in the principles of string theory, relativity and quantum mechanics, and really makes the audience think about choices and their consequence, alternate universes and the complexity of our world.

“Our students thoroughly enjoyed the play, the versatility of the acting as well as the simplicity of the means by which the story was told. Overall, this has been a very enriching as well as hands-on SLE experience, and we are looking forward to more collaboration with the Manhattan Theatre Club in the near future,” says Raluca Shields, the Theatre Arts teacher at County Prep High School.

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