Marjorie Prime: A Review by Jessi Kaur
Echo, Alexa, Siri, is Prime next?
Nataak’s Marjorie Prime succeeds in creating a credible portrayal of a foreseeable future when an Artificial Intelligence based techno- companion could comfort you with memories of your past that has faded into oblivion.
In the opening scene Walter, a pleasant young man is seen reminiscing with Marjorie, who is much older and visibly feeble. From the conversation it appears that they are a couple. But wait a minute, he is too young to be her husband. In a chilling moment you realize that Walter is a computer-generated version of Marjorie’s dead husband. He is recounting to Marjorie memories that have been fed to him. The line between reality and technology blur for Marjorie who is struggling with dementia. During her lucid moments she realizes that her husband is no more, and that Walter is a Prime. But does it matter where comfort comes from – a machine or a human? Can there be a real relationship with a machine? Is it possible for an AI created robot to feel emotions like a human?
Nataak goes into unchartered territory with Jordan Harrison’s play. Ranjita—- as Marjorie is a consummate actor whose portrayal is full of pathos and never for a moment slips into sentimentality. Kudos to Nataak for once again choosing a play that is contemporary yet on point as it deals with age old human issues surrounding life, relationships, loneliness, sickness, and death. Once again the audience is left with much to think about long after the play is over. It’s community theatre as its finest.