A Life Lived vs. a Life Remembered
MARJORIE PRIME is Up Next at Falcon Theatre!
What would we choose to forget from our past if given the opportunity? What have we forgotten already that we might wish we could remember? Do we remember the past as it actually occurred or as we–for whatever reason–prefer to remember it?
These are just a few of the questions addressed in Jordan Harrison’s drama Marjorie Prime, a touching, emotional, and painfully believable story set in the not-too-distant future.
Marjorie Prime is the second production of Falcon Theatre’s 30th Anniversary Season, opening November 22.
The story revolves around 85-year-old Marjorie, who is in the early stages of dementia. Ten years after the death of her husband Walter, Marjorie now lives with her daughter Tess and son-in-law Jon who have installed a holographic “prime” of Walter to keep Marjorie company and perhaps aid in holding onto part of her rapidly failing memory. The “prime” takes on the form of Walter as a vibrant young man rather than the Walter from his final, older years and is programmed with the ability to learn from the information that he has been fed. Jon, particularly, has shared with the prime certain aspects and details of Marjorie’s past, but for Tess, some things are too uncomfortable to share.
“The more I read and work with this script, the less I see it as about aging and dying and more about the nature of memory,” says director Ed Cohen. “Memories, by their nature, are images frozen in our mind. But what are they made of? And how do they relate to our humanity…to whatever it is that makes us human?”
Cohen, who has directed multiple productions at Falcon, including In the Heat of the Night, The Pillowman, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane, sees the story’s treatment of memory as the key that unlocks our humanity. He points to multiple episodes in the story where Marjorie is struggling with details of memories, but what she’s trying to recapture is the feelings and emotions that she associates with the memories.
The New York Times says the play, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama, “operates by stealth…landing skillfully targeted punch after punch, right where it hurts” and when it’s least expected. The Los Angeles Times says Marjorie Prime “…is the kind of experience that keeps unfolding in the mind long after the 80-minute play is over” and “is primarily concerned with something eternal: the way our humanity is shaped and warped by the mysterious ebbs and flows of memory.”
Falcon’s production features Sue Breving as Marjorie, Ryan J. Poole as Walter, Tara Williams as Tess, and Terry Gosdin as Jon.
Performances are at 8 PM on November 22, 23, 29, 30, and December 5, 6, and 7. Tickets prices are $25 for adults and $15 for students with ID. Patrons enjoy a $5 discount for Thursday performances. Visit falcontheater.net for tickets.