“I knew that I had a play in me about artificial intelligence, but I don’t think I knew how to approach it until I read Brian Christian’s wonderful book, The Most Human Human, and encountered this idea that artificial intelligence keeps getting better at imitating things that humans do, so what are the things that we do that A.I. can’t do yet; how can we continue to be better at those things than computers are? It’s not about hobbling the computers, it’s about bettering ourselves. How can we be more human humans? That is the fundamental question of his book, and possibly the fundamental question of the play too.” – Jordan Harrison, playwright, MARJORIE PRIME
The most fundamental thing that theatre - and perhaps all art - does is reflect the human experience. Theatre examines relationships, feeling, conflict, society, morality, and more. So, in a world where computers are capable of so much, and people are more connected (at least virtually) than ever before, what makes us human? Is it our mind? Our thoughts? Our memories? Artificial intelligence, even in 2017, is capable of recording information (memories) as well as synthesizing information and drawing conclusions (thoughts). So, what’s makes a human being human?
That is what is explored in Jordan Harrison’s brilliant, award-winning play MARJORIE PRIME. The relationships, the feeling, the heartache, the humor – all these qualities emerge and are stripped away to help explore the question of what make us alive. The “prime” in the title refers to the mathematical term. When using variables, you have ‘x’ and then you have ‘x prime’ – something related to ‘x’ and alike, but not exactly the same. Can you quantify the difference between the human mind and the “prime” - a computer programmed to collect and engage in human memories?
Dorothy Silver returns to the Dobama stage as Marjorie, a role she helped create in a workshop and reading of Jordan Harrison’s script while it was being developed at the Cleveland Play House back in 2013 as the “Roe Green Award Winner” during their New Ground Theatre Festival. We are honored to produce the regional premiere of this play. Of course, any performance by the first lady of Cleveland theatre is noteworthy, but the chance to bring this script (a Pulitzer Prize finalist) to the Dobama stage with Dorothy in the title role was an opportunity that could not be missed.
We hope you enjoy this incredible production with Dobama favorite Shannon Sindelar at the helm. Make your plans soon for our holiday production of Eric Coble’s SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS – it’s an adventure for the entire family. Finally, thank you for your ongoing support of Dobama and for helping spread the word about Cleveland’s professional Off Broadway theatre.
With Love & Respect,