BELFAST — The concept of “one relationship, infinite possibilities” prompted me to venture a little farther afield to experience Midcoast Actors’ Studio’s production of “Constellations,” running through Sunday on the Troy Howard Stage in Belfast.

Written by British playwright Nick Payne, “Constellations” is a two-person, one-act play that explores quantum realities from the moment of a chance meeting throughout their relationship or, more correctly, relationships.

While it must be challenging for an actor to start, stop and repeat scenes with a degree of dissonance, real-life husband and wife Jason and Leah Bannister accomplish it smoothly.

“Leah and I wanted to do a play together, and this script is so unique, we just had to give it a go,” offers MAS Artistic Director Jason, who also directs “Constellations,” and is theater teacher at Troy Howard Middle School.

“With all this talk in the play about String Theory, different dimensions and the multi-verse, it’s really about choices. And love. And space. And honey. And love,” he added.

Having a real-life couple in these roles is a boon to the production. It adds comfort to the intimacies and interactions and a freedom with which they can approach each other and the roles.

The audience is witness to minute and milestone moments in the fictional couple’s relationship. Moments with shades of joy, anger, pathos and ambivalence where one turn of the phrase, one question asked, one answer given affects the direction the next moment takes, with that ripple affecting the outcome. With “Constellations,” wait a minute and the plot may be more to your liking.

The female character, Marianne, experiences physical challenges that Leah Bannister conveys convincingly. You find yourself pulling for certain story lines to complete, some personalities to not be the “real one,” although, that’s certainly not the point.

With Jason’s character, Roland, I found myself fighting the urge to holler out at certain points to tell him to shut up, like yelling, “don’t go in there” while watching a movie.

This type of show concept has the potential to be overwhelming and confusing, but “Constellations” is clear in the way it’s presented and the way the play is constructed. Some moments are heavy, followed by moments of humor where the audience laughs heartily with a combination of amusement and relief.

While lighting and sound effects, designed by Jay Rosenberg, are well-utilized to convey the sense of changing time and plane, the writing and acting do a very nice job on their own.

Many plays are actors portraying characters to tell the playwright’s story. “Constellations” is actors portraying characters and realities in a way that both tell the various stories, while also exploring truths about relationship themes that are both universal and unique.

“Constellations” runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, at 173 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast. Tickets are available at the door and are $15, or $10 for those under 35 and over 64. For more information, call 370-7592 or visit

Tamara Lilly is a Woolwich native with 30-plus years as performer, tech, producer, director, teacher, board member and staff at community theaters in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Maine. Find the Stage Door Diva Podcast on iTunes or