What: Marjorie Prime, a play by Jordan Harrison
Presented as part of the Virus New Directors Series
Running Time 85 min
Where: El Sol Theater, 406 N Bullard, Silver City, NM
Apr 5, Fri 7:30p
Apr 6, Sat 7:30p
Apr 9, Tu 7:00p
Apr 12, Fri 7:30p
Apr 13, Sat 7:30p
Apr 14, Sun 2:00p
The Virus Theater Company of Silver City will be opening its 2019 season with something different. The volunteer ensemble-based company has developed a name for itself with original works written by the company and by lending a highly physical and spectacular flair to breathe life into older classics. The season opener, Marjorie Prime, is a departure from that trend in that it is a contemporary drama by Washington state playwright Jordan Harrison which was a Pulitzer prize finalist in 2015 after it premiered in 2014.
The small cast includes community members from varied walks of life, all fully committed to creating an exemplary piece of theater. Phyllis McQuaide and Jessa Tumposky, both veterans of the Silver City theater scene who have both spent time studying and practicing in the Northeast, bring a lot of experience to the cast. Gregg Jarrette and René Medina join as relative newcomers, throwing their tremendous talents, intellect, and physicality into their challenging roles.
The play explores a family in the not-too-distant future as they struggle with the challenges of caring for an aging relative, Marjorie. Help has arrived in the form of a holographic image of Walter (Medina,) Marjorie’s deceased husband, who is an artificial intelligence meant to provide comfort and companionship by collecting and sharing family stories with Marjorie (McQuaide,) who is beginning to lose her memory. However, Marjorie’s daughter, Tess (Tumposky,) and her husband, Jon (Jarrette,) have differing views on how to incorporate this new element into their family.
The design team is lead by director Hallie Harris and made up of Kate Brown, a potter and visual artist who later in life decided to to return to school to study animation; Kelsey Patterson, who has costumed for the Santa Fe Opera, The Guthrie Theater, and the Minneapolis Opera among others but who now owns and operates a restaurant, Revel, with her husband and best friend; Ricky Herrin, a scenic and prop artist from Seattle; Doug Shelton, a local playwright, carpenter, and lighting designer; and Adam Arrey, a talented young musician and graduate of the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona who works as an audio engineer for WNMU.
As part of the new director series, Hallie Harris, one of Virus’s more recent additions to the creative ensemble, is excited to be leading the artistic direction on this piece. “It is a fun, beautiful, and thought provoking piece about the nature of humanity through the lens of how our identities our shaped by the stories we tell and pass on from generation to generation and I couldn’t have been blessed with a better artistic team,” Harris says. “I’m delightfully surprised that in a town as small as Silver City so many incredibly hardworking, skilled, and talented people would give of themselves to make a big community art project like this.” Harris studied drama in Seattle in the early 2000s but has a background in education and design which she says helps manage a big project like this.
“At heart,” Harris says, “human beings are storytellers. That’s how we reach out to each other and how we make sense of the world. The theater brings story into an immediate arena, where we empathize with the actors on stage and share in their struggles. In spite of the heavy themes of this play, it is a fast moving piece of theater whose overall message is one of connection, laughter, and transcendence.”
Virus Theater’s season will also include a new original Melodrama which will open at the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Altos at the end of May, a Children's Theater Workshop at the El Sol this summer, and at the end of the year a new interpretation of The Green Bird, a commedia dell'arte play by Carlo Gozzi from 1765 that promises lots of physical comedy and theatrical spectacle.
Marjorie Prime opens Friday, April 5, at the El Sol Theater, 406 N Bullard, in downtown Silver City. Running time is 85 min. Tickets $10 available at the door. It is appropriate for a mature audience due to themes of depression, death and suicide as well as mild adult language. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit here.