Review: Marjorie Prime at Capital Stage
Is Marjorie Prime a science-fiction tale disguised as a family drama? Or is it a family drama disguised as a sci-fi tale? It’s both, actually, and it’s a superior rumination on family dynamics, aging, fading memories and what we choose to remember—and how.
Janis Stevens stars as Marjorie, an 85-year-old woman with an unspecified disease that seems an awful lot like Alzheimer’s (she struggles with memory loss). Her daughter Tess (Jamie Jones, who, in this role, defines what it means to be difficult and unlikeable) delivers highly selective bits of memory, while Tess’ husband Jon (the sturdy Steven Sean Garland) embraces all that technology can provide to make Marjorie happy and comfortable.
That includes endorsing the arrival of a holographic computerized replica of Walter, Marjorie’s late husband. Walter is not Marjorie’s age, or even the age he was when he died. Rather, he’s 35 or so, in his prime—as Marjorie wants to remember him. Brock D. Vickers, playing the stiffish grief ghost impeccably, makes Walter Prime an ingratiating (and creepy) companion. Vickers has impeccable robotic mannerisms, automatically buttoning his sport jacket when he stands, then unbuttoning when he sits.
The final scene is a little Places in the Heart unsettling, leaving room for plenty of discussion.
Capital Stage founding artistic director (now the producing artistic director of Florida’s American Stage) directs this co-production of the two companies with assurance.