As the lyrics go, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love” and Epic Theatre Company is only too happy to oblige with a sweet production of Nick Payne’s love story “Constellations.”

As the lyrics go, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love” and Epic Theatre Company is only too happy to oblige with a sweet production of Nick Payne’s love story “Constellations.”

Running through July 28, the two-man show runs 70 minutes without intermission, offering a poignant glimpse into the joys, awkwardness, challenges and triumphs of a romantic relationship. It’s the perfect piece to kick off the company’s so-called “Summer of Serendipity” because Payne beautifully balances the cerebral with the heartstrings.

“I’m a firm believer that you can think and be entertained at the same time,” says Epic artistic director Kevin Broccoli. “It’s a small play with big ideas.”

Payne spins a simple love story that starts when Marianne, a cosmologist, and Roland, a beekeeper, meet at a barbecue. They date but it fizzles. There’s infidelity. They meet later and the connection is more lasting, even when Marianne is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and begins losing her ability to remember words, read and even type.

While the plot is basic and relatively familiar, Payne’s writing invites the audience to imagine the concept of situations unfolding in parallel universes where, as Broccoli notes, “at any moment, we’re all leading every kind of life we can imagine.”

More simply put, Payne tweaks the dialogue to help us envision things differently — did Marianne cheat on Roland or was he the philanderer? Does she welcome his marriage proposal or is she disgusted? How does one slight change affect the outcome?

The interpretation given to “Constellations” by director Joanne Fayan takes things a few steps further to craft an experience that is all-encompassing and even soothing for the audience as the pair bump over life’s rocky patches and manage to find solace and love in the end.

Roland, played by Christopher Plonka, and Marianne, played by Hannah Lum, work the entire time in and around a series of orbits etched onto the floor of Epic’s black box space, emanating from a planet in the middle. They circle the planet, square off against each other, and reset. Each mini scene is punctuated by a moment of dimmed lights and a zapping noise like a star bursting apart in the solar system. The effect Fayan has created is that life is made up of fractions of time, linking together and connecting us.

It’s a demanding show for its actors, yet Plonka and Lum are strong and consistently interesting to watch. Lum, in particular, displays great physical expressiveness, her eyes widening when she speaks of her mother’s illness or her own, her anger tightening her jaw when she hears of her man’s infidelity. Plonka is steady and strong, able to swing from one emotional extreme to another with amazing ease.

“Constellations” is a more intense summer production than the pair Epic staged in 2017, but more in an emotionally charged way than high-brow intellectual. The sweet, everyman love story is a treat of an experience. For tickets, go to www.epictheatreri.org.