‘Constellations’ explores unlikely attraction, intimacy

Pure Theatre actors Camille Lowman and Paul Rolfes star in the theater’s latest production, “Constellations.”

She’s a physicist researching “theoretical early universe cosmology,” while he toils as a beekeeper. As love trails closely behind a chance meeting, both wrestle with the questions of her wondering mind against the practical nature of his.

It’s not a typical love story, with its exceptionally brainy characters (which manage against all odds to make discussing string theory, relativity and quantum mechanics romantic) and unorthodox professions, but it’s a tale of love across scales straddling the universe and the individual, exploring what it means to share intimacy with one within the vastness comprising so many.

“Constellations” comes from the mind of young British playwright Nick Payne, who won the Evening Standard Theatre Award at 29 for the play, becoming the youngest playwright ever to win the prize.

The play first premiered in January 2012 at London’s Royal Court Theatre starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall, before moving to the West End by the end of that year. After three years on the West End, the play toured the UK and made its Broadway debut around the same time, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson cast as the play’s only characters.

The Broadway production earned a Tony nomination that same year.

Pure Theatre’s production of the two-hander play stars core ensemble members Camille Lowman and Paul Rolfes under the direction of Sharon Graci, the theater’s founding artistic director.

“Constellations” will run at Pure Theatre, 477 King St., until May 14. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22-$30 and are available at the theater box office or online at www.PureTheatre.org. Call 843-723-4444 or go to the venue’s website for additional information.

In the depths of South Carolina’s rural beauty, a nursing home sits on the duality of the South, draped in all things sylvan and eerie.

It’s the setting for Moncks Corner native and current North Carolina resident Ceille Baird Welch’s play “The Dayporch,” a two-act comedy-thriller that follows a quartet of women as they struggle to come to terms with aging in isolation.

When the group home’s chaplain quits, citing the women’s wily, trying nature as the cause, a new chaplain arrives at the far-flung country home.

The women initially find themselves captivated by his charm and kindness, but when a series of strange events begin occurring around the property, the women are drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse to reveal the chaplain’s true identity.

As their collective cunning and strength are put to their greatest test yet, the subtle, yet resolute will and storied astuteness of Southern women emerge in dramatically hilarious fashion.

The play first premiered in Charleston at the 2001 Piccolo Spoleto festival, making its return a 15-year reunion, of sorts, for familiar audiences.

Welch revealed that the inspiration behind the play’s story and characters came from her nearly three-decade career as a mental health counselor in psychiatric hospitals across the Carolinas.

Actors’ Theatre of Charleston co-founders Chris Weatherhead and her husband, Clarence Felder, are behind the production, with Weatherhead serving as its producer and Felder, a St. Matthews native and longtime Broadway and film actor and director, directing.

The play stars Paul O’Brien, Samantha Andrews, Carolyn Heyward, Susan Lovell, Margaret Nyland and Myra Jones.

“The Dayporch” will run until May 7 at the Threshold Repertory Theatre, 841/2 Society St.

Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays on April 24 and May 1. Tickets are $22 general, $20 senior, $15 military/students and are available at the theater box office or online at wwwCharlestonTheater.com.

Call 843-277-2172 or go to the website for additional information.