By Jodi, Myah, and Sarah Schultz
For the third show of their 70th season, Theatre in the Round Players present Marjorie Prime. This emotionally intense science fiction piece was written by Jordan Harrison and premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in 2014. Directed by Kari Steinbach, the four person cast traverses issues of aging, dementia, artificial intelligence, and memory.
Every actor displays incredible skill with subtlety. No one overacts, they provide just enough information to pull the audience with them. For the first few moments of the show, Corey Boe as Walter treads the line between organic and artificial, concealing his nature and the nature of his relationship with Marjorie (Kristen Mathisen). Mathisen skillfully portrays an 85 year old struggling with dementia. Her honest performance is humorous and heartbreaking. Katie Wodele as Tess also deftly navigates a turbulent character arc. The audience strains with Tess as she cares for her aging mother and wrestles with past trauma. Jon (David Denninger) anchors his family, stepping up in ways the others can’t. Denninger is emotionally available and instantly endearing, which makes his eventual trauma even more brutal.
The final scene presents an eerie possible future, devoid of humanity. 3 beings sit in a living room. Conversation flows organically until Tess states, “I am sorry, I do not have that information.” The two other figures freeze. Slowly, in perfect unison, they turn their heads from right to left. The 3 beings sit in this jarring, inhuman moment for a beat before conversation resumes.
Marjorie Prime is a show about relationships. Relationships between family members, humans and technology, and technology itself. The intricately woven plot reflects on technology’s role in our society, prompting questions about limitations and overreach in imagined futuristic scenarios. These weighty 80 minutes will sit with audience members long after they leave the theater.
Marjorie Prime runs through March 6. Audience discussions with members of the company will follow the performance on Sunday, February 13; Saturday, February 19; and Friday, February 25. On February 19, the cast will be joined by special guest Dr. Joseph E. Gaugler, the director for the Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation at the University of Minnesota.
Proof of Vaccination or negative test required for all patrons.
Tickets are $25. For information, call the theatre’s box office at 612-333-3010 or visit its website at