Closed 1h 40m
Marjorie Prime
Midtown W
80

Marjorie Prime NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(63 Reviews)
Positive
86%
Mixed
11%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Intelligent, Clever

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents a story about a family coping with the loss of a loved one through the use of a "prime:" an exact replica of the deceased who can learn to interact in human-like ways.

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Member Reviews (63)

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90
Ambitious, Clever, Profound, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you can. A powerful exam of identity and memory. What makes us ourselves? And what will happen with AI? Well acted, skillfully written.

Don't see it if you dislike sci-fi stories. MP takes place in the near future. I liked it so much I saw it twice. A couple of scenes could have been trimmed

91
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if incredible acting and a sci fi storyline

Don't see it if You don't want to see a somewhat depressing quiet show. But it will make you think. And you won't forget it!

Critic Reviews (28)

December 14th, 2015

"Impeccably directed by Anne Kauffman, with acting to match by a cast of four, this production keeps developing in your head...It initially has the look and feel of a featherweight work — of a cool, low-key domestic comedy of ideas, built on a single ingenious gimmick. But at some point, you realize that it’s been landing skillfully targeted punch after punch, right where it hurts."
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December 14th, 2015

"An intriguing scenario but mainly an elegant study of memory as both escape and prison...The structural trick of Harrison’s play (not to give too much away) is the slow proliferation of Primes, which both palliates and sharpens the tragic chapters of Marjorie and Tess’s past. Time will tell if A.I. ever becomes a reality, but the human parts of Harrison’s smart, lovely play are built to last."
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December 14th, 2015

"A startling and profound new drama...It’s true that 'Marjorie Prime' is fundamentally a realistic work, and a brilliant one at that...That in this production they are rendered natural as well, despite the amusing technological frame through which Harrison explores them, is the result of the superior ensemble acting of the cast, under Anne Kauffman’s beautifully balanced direction."
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December 14th, 2015

"'Marjorie Prime' is sometimes frustratingly slow and schematic; it's the sort of play that is probably more satisfying to ponder over afterward than to watch. But it resonates with deep feeling, philosophical intelligence and empathy not only for its human characters, but also for its artificial ones. Staged in measured, understated fashion by Anne Kauffman, the piece is wonderfully acted by the ensemble."
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December 14th, 2015

"'Marjorie Prime' envisions a day in the near future when we’ll be able to program robots to serve as humanoid companions for the old, the infirm and the lonely. The play, premiering at Playwrights Horizons with Smith in the cast, is also a sensitive study of family dynamics, which makes it all the more engaging."
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December 14th, 2015

"Under the direction of Anne Kauffman, the acting is seamless. And this carefully calibrated 70-minute meditation on morality and memories exerts a gentle but insistent tug. But it doesn’t doesn’t dive deep enough to make a lasting impact."
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December 14th, 2015

"One of the more impressive aspects of 'Marjorie Prime' is how Harrison calls upon spectators to be active viewers. Rather than deal in specifics, he provides context clues for us to piece together the timeline and personal histories ourselves...It works here because the dialogue and performances are so strong, it's like we're viewing these moments firsthand...Thanks to the expert cast and wonderfully sensitive writing, it's a supremely emotional moment."
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December 15th, 2015

"Harrison takes the scenario exactly to where you'd expect and by the end of the play's seventy minutes we're in a world of artificial life passing on a history that never was. It's a premise with potential, but once the scenario is revealed and the morality issues debated, the drama is played out with little intrigue or surprise."
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December 15th, 2015

"'Marjorie Prime' isn't especially dramatic; it works by stating and restating its initial situation...Anne Kauffman's beautifully acted production keeps raising nagging questions...By the finale, 'Marjorie Prime' is in danger of not making sense...'Marjorie Prime' is best enjoyed as a chamber piece, and on those terms it certainly has a creepily insinuating effect."
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December 14th, 2015

"Infinitely complex, intellectually provocative, and flagrantly moral, 'Marjorie Prime' is a masterpiece of dramatic construction and execution...Kauffman's production could hardly be better: crisp, futuristic, and yet resolutely now, a cry from the future to the present. Despite the cast's and Kauffman's best efforts, however, parts of the play, particularly in the first half, tend to drag...Even so, 'Marjorie Prime' is an absolute winner."
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December 16th, 2015

"On a technical level 'Marjorie Prime' is expertly constructed and contains serviceable dialogue that propels the plot, but in totality it never rises above the level of an academic contrivance. The premise is a familiar but promising one, but in execution it is flat."
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December 14th, 2015

"Anne Kaufman directs with a steady hand. Even scene changes are well orchestrated...We can see the stagehands but we can’t see them well, reflecting the blurring of light/life and death/ obscurity at the heart of the play. 'Marjorie Prime' dips a little toward the end but bounces right back. It raises all sorts of questions about that most basic of topics: life and death. It answers none of them, observing and imagining but offering no pithy answers."
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December 14th, 2015

"'Marjorie Prime' is an ambitious and provocative rumination on the crossroads to which all our journeys through life lead. The every day aspects of the play cover much that's predictable...Fortunately, under the direction of Anne Kauffman the in and out movement between ordinary and extraordinary is accomplished with subtle fluidity. Best of all, the cast is more than up to tapping into the nuances of the characters. "
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December 15th, 2015

"But mostly the AI conceit feels like a device for examining the one, inherently human condition that no robot can know: death and grieving. The story-telling process of programming the primes offers the most interesting parts of the drama...This is where 'Marjorie Prime' has the most to say; the plot surprises afforded by the AI story come off as mere provocation."
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December 14th, 2015

"Insightful and only slightly science fiction play...The main strength of 'Marjorie Prime' is not in its imagining of future robots, but in its precise perceptions of present-day family dynamics...There is much humor in the telling and retelling of the family stories, and much precision in the performances of the four actors, under the expert direction of Anne Kauffman."
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C
December 20th, 2015

"Jordan Harrison’s thought-provoking play…Despite its brevity, the play can feel a bit sluggish since there’s relatively little action, and the feeling of stasis is mostly underlined by Anne Kauffman’s relatively unfussy direction. She shows her theatricality only at the very end, leaving one to almost wonder if the play was written in reverse given the show’s chilling (and chillingly staged) final scene. It’s a glimpse into the future that many of us might prefer not to see."
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December 21st, 2015

"Since there’s a general coolness to director Anne Kaufmann’s production, and the backstories of the characters aren’t particularly engrossing, the difference between the humans and the primes might have worked better if the characters were more down-to-earth or unusual than the superficial ones in the play...Harrison wisely remains opaque about the androids’ technical details, forcing you to fill in the dots. His premise is wide open for speculation and debate."
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B
December 14th, 2015

"The plot is intriguing, but a bit schematic. I wish the family’s long-ago tragedy were not based on something that has become a dramatic cliche. Nevertheless, there is much to admire. The actors are uniformly wonderful. The final scene is both a satisfying and unexpected one, filled with humanity."
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December 14th, 2015

"Artificial intelligence is one thing; artificial playwriting, alas, is another. That's not to say that Mr. Harrison's writing is artificial. His setup, though, allows him to spoon-feed information to the audience by having his A.I. characters feed us backstory...The plotting is such that at times we are reminded of a non-violent variation on 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'. Except that what is provocative in those works is not so, here."
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December 15th, 2015

"This is a play of ideas and, as such, there is more discourse than there is dramatic action, and characterizations do not run especially deep...Time is intentionally fluid in this work but, under Anne Kauffman’s otherwise thoughtful direction, leaps of many years feel more disjointed than they should be."
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November 24th, 2015

"A compelling futuristic tale where artificial intelligence may just keep us company, attempt to provide comfort, and companionship in our elder years. But he cleverly explores the depth, substance, and satisfaction this fascinating technology might bring to us - or not give to us, as the case may be."
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December 21st, 2015

"The ensemble gives fine performances in the thought-provoking piece, which plays out on a lime-green apartment set bland enough to allow lighting designer Ben Stanton to focus on characters and the creepy nature of what is taking place. The plot is more intellectual than fast-paced action in this 90-minute, no intermission play, but Kauffman’s taut direction doesn’t allow it to sound boring. Harrison’s script also keeps the subject from veering into science fiction."
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December 14th, 2015

"Typically, AI stories focus on the singularity and robots taking over. That's not what 'Marjorie Prime,' directed with sensitivity by Anne Kauffman, is about. Indeed, Tess's husband, Jon, champions the Primes, seeing them as allies. Yet, throughout the course of the play, sort of a sophisticated Turing Test, we wonder if the line between human intelligence and artificial intelligence is too blurred for its own good."
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December 14th, 2015

"Kauffman has economically and coolly staged the play...On one level, 'Marjorie Prime' is a wry examination of how technology is replacing some human interaction, but it's also a tender, layered look at the caprices of memory and the devastating impact of loss."
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January 7th, 2016

"Easily among the best plays I saw this year, and I was moved to do something I’ve never done before — purchase a copy of the play on my way out of the theater because I loved it so much...If you’ve experienced the death of a loved one this play will really hit home...I will remember this play for a long time."
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December 14th, 2015

"The way this concept is presented is nothing less than artful in that it never once feels sci-fi or fantastical; despite the (currently) unbelievable premise, it stays grounded in its principles, however existential they may seem. The cast delivers outstanding performances in roles that demand an immersive and imaginative approach...If there is one caution to consider, it is this: 'Marjorie Prime' is not for the passive viewer. To fully appreciate its message, it’s critical to pay attention."
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December 15th, 2015

"Jordan Harrison's captivating new play...Emphasizing the transitory nature of true human perceptions, director Anne Kauffman's production limns eloquent compositions for fleeting intervals.... The excellent ensemble subtly delineates the differences between unthinking human movement and its machine-learned facsimile."
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B
December 14th, 2015

"There’s the start of an interesting idea in Jordan Harrison’s play 'Marjorie Prime,' which has a vaguely futuristic sort of premise, but it never comes to fruition...Nothing is fleshed out, and so it is impossible to be moved by the absence portrayed during the last scene of the play because that absence has been present, unfortunately, all along."
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