Review: Stage West's MARJORIE PRIME questions how we value humanity

Marjorie Prime 

By Jordan Harrison

Directed by Sasha Maya Ada

Produced by Stage West

On its surface, Marjorie Prime is a quiet conversation about intergenerational relationships and memory, but if you’re paying attention to the details, it’s like watching an elegant episode of Black Mirror live and in the round – surreal science fiction exploring the philosophy of naturalism, presented with Stanislavski style attention to the human condition.

Director Sasha Maya Ada’s Program Note perfectly sets the tone for the evening: 

Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime takes place in 2053—just 9 years prior to The Jetsons. Butinstead of flying cars and robot maids and that cool breakfast delivery machine that I’m still holding out for, things look normal. Parents still grow old, marriages still take work, and memory continues to be a tricky little thing. But when deeply human needs and man-made technology come face to face, what about our humanity will stand the test of time?

The intimate Evelyn Wheeler Swenson Theatre ensures there is no bad seat. Presented in the round on a purposefully curated set (Allen Dean), with soft lighting (Bryan Stevenson), minimal props (Lynn Lovett), and only subtle costume changes (Whitney Coulter) throughout, the focus of this experience is squarely on the language of relationships. 

You get the feeling Ada has approached the work with care and curiosity, and in doing so has perfectly cast her four actors. The show only hits the way it does due the truly skillful way Cindee Mayfield (Marjorie) and Shannon J. McGrann (Tess) navigate particular transitions, with Parker Gray (Walter) and Jackie Gabe (Jon) providing committed foils throughout the journey.

How do I describe the best aspects of this show any further without spoilers? I honestly don’t know. 

The best bits sneak up on you, and by the final stretch there are lines that hit so hard I physically felt the shot in my heart. But also I cackled at and even applauded certain jokes!

And oh my goodness, those last 5-7 minutes… what a thought, “that we could love somebody.”

What is the word for feeling warm and chilled-through at the same time? I’m sorry, I don’t have that information. 

Marjorie Prime continues through February 11, for Tickets.

And consider a reservation at the Lobby Cafe for pre-show food and drink! I had the Ravioli Bites paired with a Lunch Bocks from HopFusion Ale Works and it was perfect. 

Audience Rating: PG13 - Style and Subject Matter

Run Time: 2 hours, including a 15 minute intermission

Accessible Seating: Available 

Hearing Devices: Available

ASL Interpretation: Thursday February 1

Sensory Friendly Performance: Not Available

Production Sound Level: Comfortable Volume 

Noises or Visuals to Prepare For: None of Note