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Power of the universe? A change in italics according Constellations playwright Nick Payne

Alice Jones's Arts Diary

He has written the Best Play of the year, according to the Evening Standard Theatre Awards but Nick Payne doesn’t make life easy for those who have to stage Constellations.

The two-hander, about love, bee-keeping and quantum physics which opened in the West End earlier this month, contains the following direction: “A change in font – for example from bold to italic – denotes a change in universe.”

It’s not quite “Exit, pursued by a bear” but it certainly baffled the cast, Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins (pictured). “I was like, ‘What the f*** is that?’”, Spall complains to Time Out. “Apart from the stage direction Nick doesn’t tell you anything. So our director, Sally and me were hunkered in a room with him for four weeks basically saying ‘how are we going to put this play on?’”

Fortunately, they managed to work it out in the end.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the realism spectrum...

A play ain’t a play these days unless it shows off a working domestic appliance.

First, Dominic West fired up a hob to fry a fish live on stage in The River.Now, it appears that Jack Thorne’s new play, which opens at Soho Theatre next month, will have a cast performing its ablutions in front of the audience.

Mydidae, a dark romance billed as “a play for anyone who has ever shared a bath”, will be staged in a plumbed-in bathroom, complete with bath, toilet and sink. “It’s a setting that’s meant to be understood by everyone and provide common ground”, I’m told.

All of its amenities will be used during the course of the play. Yes, that includes the toilet. The Arts Diary checked so you don’t have to.

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