Bozeman Actors Theatre, in cooperation with Verge Theater, will present Montana’s first fully staged production of “Marjorie Prime” in February and March at Verge Theater.
The critically acclaimed play by Jordan Harrison, nephew of the late Montana novelist and poet Jim Harrison (“Legends of the Fall”), completed its successful run Off Broadway in 2015 and was a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Set in the unspecified but oddly familiar future, the story takes place in the household of an average middle-aged couple, Tess and Jon, played by Cara Wilder and Gordon Carpenter, who share their home with Tess’s 85-year-old mother, Marjorie (Dee Dee Van Zyl). Also present is Walter (Ryan Lawrence Flynn), a thirtysomething holographic representation, or “prime,” of Marjorie’s late husband, programmed to collect and sort Marjorie’s fading memories. With gentle humor and subtle yet poignant insight, the play confronts issues of aging, death, memory loss and identity.
“I was fascinated by the themes of the play on my first reading, as it offers food for thought on so many levels,” said Wilder, who is also artistic director for Bozeman Actors Theatre. “It’s spare, simple storytelling tackling some very profound subjects.”
Bozeman Actors Theatre’s mission, Wilder said, is to provide professional-quality and adventurous live theater to the community through a mix of contemporary and classical productions. In November the group presented a staged reading of Edward Albee’s ageless masterpiece “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” at MSU’s Black Box Theatre. Now, with “Marjorie Prime,” under the direction of Tonya Andrews, the ensemble brings to Bozeman a domestic drama of an entirely different sort.
Wilder added that Jordan Harrison is one of the brightest young playwrights of his generation whose work is especially timely at the moment. Harrison writes for the Netflix original “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Marjorie Prime” is the basis for a soon-to-be-released major motion picture starring Lois Smith, Geena Davis, Jon Hamm and Tim Robbins.
“‘Marjorie Prime’ is an exciting new work from an emerging playwright—exactly the kind of theater we enjoy serving up to our community,” Wilder said. “It’s a story told with honesty, heart and humor, and it asks questions that audiences will be pondering long after the lights go down.”
Bozeman Actors Theatre and Verge Theater will present “Marjorie Prime” as a 2017 Main Stage production at the Verge on Fridays and Saturdays between Feb. 24 and March 11, 2017, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 and are available online at vergetheater.com, or in person at Cactus Records in Downtown Bozeman.