Go “Informed” to Enjoy MTC’s Marjorie Prime


Unless you go to Marin Theatre Company’s current production soon (on or before May 27 – and informed about the concept), you’ll miss this cast’s performance of Playwright Jordan Harrison’s genius premise (for which he was Pulitzer Prize finalist): replication and artificial intelligence versus actual human memory and identification as we age, and it will either put you to sleep until your brain can wrap around the concepts of this futuristic production, or you will spin your wheels, throughout the 70 minutes, trying to understand what you’re seeing and the seemingly disconnected/non-cohesive dialogue you’re hearing!  For real!

Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll and Assistant Director Alessandro McLaughlin, this 4-member cast flawlessly carried the theme(s) and characters as naturally as if they were literally in the moment of the past, the present, and the future of each character.  Each cast member was a principal – no supporting roles.  Marjorie Prime wants to “know more” than “feel more.”  She was brilliantly and poignantly portrayed by Joy Carlin. Tommy Gorrebeeck was exceptional in bringing her Marjorie’s husband, Walter, to us as more than a memory and certainly more than a programmed Prime.

Walter Prime (Tommy Gorrebeeck) feeds memories to Marjorie (Joy Carlin).

Tess (Julie Eccles) was quite frustrated with her living Mother (Marjorie), on the one hand, yet quite happy with her replicated Mother/Marjorie, on the other – wishing she were conversing with (and remembering) her real Mother. Anthony Fusco’s character (John) was arguably the most human Prime, as he was convincingly trying to keep his wife, Tess, in the present, to no avail.

A distraught Tess (Julia Eccles) is comforted by husband John (Anthony Fusco).

The very effective set design (especially including the ceiling, the tattered chair, the art piece over the fireplace, and the falling snow), by Scenic Designer Kimie Nishikawa and marvelous Carpenter, Mike Ferrell, was beautiful stylized minimalism, which was smoothly and quietly re-arranged (including props) in the dark for each scene by a very competent Stage Crew: Kevin Johnson (Stage Manager), Julia Formanek (Production Assistant), and Liam Rudisill with Rachel Hurado (Props Artisans).  The Lighting Design (by Michael Palumbo), Sound Design, including music by Vivaldi (by Brendan Aanes); and Costume Designs (by Jessie Amoroso) were perfection – understated, yet elegant.

By Elle Alexa Simon, Student of Flora Lynn Isaacson, Critic

Photography by Kevin Berne

Marjorie Prime began its Bay Area Premiere run May 3 and will continue, as shown below, through the matinee performance on May 27, 2018, at the home of the Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley.  (For contractual reasons, the show cannot be extended, so don’t miss this mind-bender!)

Remaining Evening Performances: Tuesday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m., May 15-27
Matinees: 1:00 p.m., Thursday, May 17; and 2:00 p.m.; Sunday, May 20, and Saturday, May 26

For tickets, contact Marin Theatre Company at 415-388-5208, or purchase online at boxoffice@marintheatre.org.

COMING UP NEXT AT MTC (June 14 through July 8, 2018) will be Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee and Directed by Morgan Gould.