Relationships are complicated enough without the moments of high drama recurring over and over, and not always in the same way. But in the “multiverse” explained by physicist Marianne, the more grating half of the two lovers in Nick Payne’s techno-contrived Constellations, that’s the dynamic not only of love but of all human interaction. It’s within this sphere of scientific exposition that the 75-minute Constellations, directed by Richard Seer, unfolds in the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre.
The decidedly non-linear story of Marianne (Victoria Frings) and Roland (Christian Coulson) is likely to get under your skin in a hurry. Whether that’s a pleasant or annoying experience may hinge on the following: your scientific literacy; your affinity for numerous workshoppy moments in which the actors exchange the same lines of dialogue while reflecting different attitudes or temperaments; and your own romantic past. If only the secrets of this multiverse were as illuminating as Bradley King’s exquisite lighting design.
Constellations runs through May 8 at the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. $29 and up. oldglobe.org
Jesus may indeed hate Ethan, the protagonist of Wayne Lemon’s self-indulgent 2005 play. But Lemon must have loved writing Jesus Hates Me because the script glories in its would-be profundities, like “Pain’s the only way I know I’m alive,” and cutesies like the Blood of the Lamb Miniature Golf Course. Ion theatre’s Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza co-direct this West Texas-set tragicomedy that tries very hard to shock, but is better at just plain southern discomfort. Certainly there’s nothing novel about people trapped in a small town who are aching to get out. They include Ethan (Connor Sullivan), who’s hamstrung by a troubled parent (Lisel Gorell-Getz) who would give Norman Bates’ ma a run for her money.
None of the lot is what you’d call sympathetic, though Richard Johnson’s Boone is so outrageously doltish you can’t help but like him. The specter of a mannequin Jesus literally hangs over the action and the deep-fried misery—misery that no one lets you forget for a minute.
Jesus Hates Me runs through May 7 at ion theatre’s BLKBOX @ 6th & Penn in Hillcrest. $10-$32. iontheatre.com
TBD: A Collaboratively Devised Theatre Piece: The name says it all. USD theater students create a new play on the spot. It opens April 28 at the Vassiliadis Family Black Box Theatre in Linda Vista. sandiego.edu/cas
Catch Me If You Can: The musical version of the film about a jet-setting con man and the FBI agent hot on his tail. Presented by Coronado School of the Arts, it opens April 29 at the Coronado Performing Arts Center. cosasandiego.com
Evita: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish musical about Eva Peron’s rise from the slums of Argentina to the country’s first lady. Directed by Jessica Brandon, it opens April 29 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
An Enemy of the Pueblo: A staged reading of the modern, Chicano take on An Enemy of the State takes place in a small Mexican village. Written by Josephina Lopez, it opens for one performance May 2 at the Lyceum Stage in Downtown. sdrep.org
The Soap Myth: In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a staged reading of the Jeff Cohen play about an investigative reporter trying to get to the bottom of one survivor’s story. It happens May 2 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Wagner New Play Festival: The annual festival features original full-length and one-act plays written, directed and performed by UCSD graduate students. Opens May 3 at the UCSD theaters in La Jolla. theatre.ucsd.edu
The BFG (Big Friendly Giant): Roald Dahl’s classic tale of an English orphan girl who meets, well, you can probably guess. Adapted for the stage by David Wood, it runs through May 1 at the SDSU Don Powell Theatre in the College Area.
Rain: This new musical based on a short story by Somerset Maugham centers on a missionary, a doctor and their wives who meet a loveable prostitute in ’20s Western Samoa. Directed by Barry Edelstein, it runs through May 1 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
The Rocky Horror Show: You’ve seen the movie, now see the show about a couple who unwillingly stumbles upon the castle of a “sweet transvestite” and a sordid cast of characters. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through May 1 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Skin Deep: A witty, overweight woman goes on a blind date with a fella who doesn’t think before he speaks. Hilarity ensues, natch. Written by Jon Lonoff, it runs through May 1 at the Scripps Ranch Theatre. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Passage Into Fear: Set on a passenger train in the waning days of World War I, an elderly woman disappears after reveling she knows details of an international conspiracy. Presented by the North County Players, it runs through May 1 at the Patio Playhouse Theatre in Escondido. northcountyplayers.org
Constellations: Nick Payne’s acclaimed play about a chance encounter between a man and a woman at a party and all the varying directions events can play out from there. Directed by Richard Seer, it runs through May 8 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
A Little Night Music: The Stephen Sondheim musical centers on an enchanting actress who invites her male admirers, as well as their jealous wives, for a weekend in the country. It runs through May 8 at the Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
Way Downriver: Two very different men must work together to survive a terrible flood along the Mississippi River. Adapted by Edward Morgan from William Faulkner’s short story, Old Man, it runs through May 8 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Jesus Hates Me: The San Diego premiere of Wayne Lemon’s dramedy about a down-on-his-luck ex football player who begins to question his existence after visiting a Christian-themed miniature golf course. Presented by ion Theatre, it runs through May 14 at BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest. iontheatre.com
Big River: Roger Miller’s Tony Award-winning adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It runs through May 15 at the New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
Rapture, Blister, Burn: When successful Catherine returns home to take care of her ailing mother, she finds herself clashing with her childhood friend whose life took a more domestic path. Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it runs through May 15 at the Lyceum Space in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org
Dinner with Marlene: This world premiere dramedy centers on an actual dinner party that took place in 1938 Paris with movie star Marlene Dietrich and her famous friends. Written by local playwright Anne-Charlotte Harvey, it runs through May 29 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org