Theatre director Karen Therese has had a long fascination with what goes on when the sun goes down.

A few years back, she was part of a show called Sleeplessness and in 2005 she devised Constellations at PACT Youth Theatre, which looked at one long night in the life of eight characters.

Constellations plays a return season for this year’s Mardi Gras Festival, moving to a bigger venue at The Performance Space. Therese says this new production has been further developed from last year’s acclaimed effort, and delves deeper into what happens in people’s lives after sunset.

The show is about what keeps you up at night -“ and no, I am not talking about parties, she says. It is about what is underneath the skin and what people’s anxieties are about at this time of day. It is also about insomnia and the anxieties that keep us awake.

The show is set through one night and it is a collection of people, both gay and straight, who are all connected in some way and share the one space. They tell stories about being different and talk about their differences.

I got the idea after reading The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, and the idea of having the sky as a blanket and the people living underneath it in a safe environment.

The characters of Constellations include a Palestinian belly-dancer who comes out at Club Arak, an Aboriginal boxer and a cyclist who feels most alive when riding the city streets. The stories are taken from the performers’ own lives and are told through dialogue, song, music and movement. Video imaging is also used throughout the show.

The cast of Constellations includes Alexis Armytage, Nicole Hector, Ghassan Kassisieh and Nathaniel Scotcher. All the performers wrote their own texts and we then developed the stories, says Therese. There are some very big stories in there.

On opening night last year, many people in the audience were crying as the cast was telling these really personal stories. The people in the show are so gorgeous and honest and just when you think it is going even deeper, the comedy cuts in and you go somewhere else with it.

So, you leave having had a cry, but with a huge smile on your face. There is a bit of a gift with all of these stories.

Constellations plays at Performance Space, Redfern, from 16 to 26 February. Bookings on 9698 7235.

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