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'Constellations' finally ready to hit the stage

It's take two for"Constellations" at Scene One Theatre.The two-person play was originally supposed to open in late March, but had to be canceled due to public health concerns caused by the global spread of COVID-19.

Liv Paggiarino/News Tribune Megan Wadley Richmond and Jerico Whitaker rehearse together as Marianne and Roland on Tuesday for their upcoming performance in “Constellations” at Scene One Theatre. The play was supposed to have its opening night back in March, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the show is back on, set to run Sept. 17-19 and Sept. 24-26.

It's take two for"Constellations" at Scene One Theatre.

The two-person play was originally supposed to open in late March, but had to be canceled due to public health concerns caused by the global spread of COVID-19. Six months later, the actors are getting ready to finally hit the stage.

"We didn't quite know what to expect," Director Rich Burdge said of the initial closure in spring.

But, the cast, crew and theater itself have been great, Burdge said, and everyone was quick to get back into the swing of things once rehearsals started back up.

"Constellations" tells the story of a romantic relationship between a man and a woman, played by Jerico Whitaker and Megan Wadley. But, Burdge said, the play explores this relationship through an unusual lens, as Wadley's character is an astrophysicist and supports the theory of multiple or alternate universes. Because of that angle, there are scenes throughout the play that are repeated, but one change leads to an entirely different outcome.

The play, which Burdge described as "very actor-centric," has been interesting for the cast as well, who sometimes have to bring different emotions and expressions to almost the exact same scenes, something Burdge said has been challenging but very rewarding.

Scene One is what's known as a black box theater, meaning they use minimal sets and costumes in order to have audiences be more immersed in the acting. For this show, the set is essentially two chairs and specific lighting that will draw distinctions between scenes. The minimal lighting and tech required wound up being a perfect fit for a play that had to quickly stop and restart months later.

Burdge said the play is a fit for the new socially-distanced atmosphere. He said the play will have one row of seating that is in a circle around the stage itself, with seats spaced 6 feet apart.

"There's still great, exciting theater going on in town here," Burdge said.

Mark Wegman, founder of Scene One, said the theater's first priority is the health of all involved in the production, as well as the patrons. He said everyone is strongly encouraged to wear masks when entering, and hand sanitizer will be available at stations in the theater.

If you are looking to check out the new show, Burdge had one piece of advice: "Leave your usual expectations of how a story is told at the door."

"Constellations" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17-19 and 24-26 at Scene One Theatre, 623 Ohio St., with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $15. To purchase tickets, email [email protected] or call 573-635-6713.