Tony Jayawardena stars in the UK première of Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime which will open at The Menier Chocolate Factory.
Dominic Dromgoole directs Nancy Carroll (Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award for Best Actress for After the Dance – National Theatre), Richard Fleeshman (Company – Olivier Award nomination), Tony Jayawardena (The Father and The Assassin, England People Very Nice, East is East – National Theatre), and Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax and The Mother – BAFTA nomination and winner of the Critics’ Circle Film Award).
Marjorie Prime opens at The Menier Chocolate Factory on 15 March, with previews from 3 March and runs until 6 May.
You’re starring in Marjorie Prime at the Menier, what can you tell us about the play?
Marjorie Prime is set in 2062 in the age of artificial intelligence. Whereas today we have Alexas, in our play we have Primes which are hologrammatic representations of our dearly departed. We meet the character of Marjorie who is 85 years old and she is talking to a man in his thirties.
This turns out to be a Prime of her husband, Walter, but as a much younger man. Jordan Harrison’s play explores the mysteries of human identity and whether artificial intelligence is a possible substitute for human emotion.
What was it about Jordan Harrison’s script that made you want to be a part of the show?
Jordan’s writing is beautifully contemporary. He has a great lightness of touch and wit in dealing with some very painful, human issues. Conversing using his dialogue is a true pleasure.
Tell us a little more about your character, what are you enjoying most about the role?
I’m playing Jon who is Marjorie’s son-in-law. He sees the benefits that the Prime brings to Marjorie’s life and tries to bring perspective to his wife’s fears. I am enjoy acting with some of the most talented people around!
And what’s the biggest challenge you’ve found with this play?
The biggest challenge so far is to not get weighed down by the heavy subject matter. Death and suicide both come up in the play and they are always difficult subjects to deal with.
How have rehearsals been going, and what’s it like working with this cast?
Rehearsals are going brilliantly. Anne Reid, Nancy Carroll and Richard Fleeshman are all class acts and we are having a huge amount of fun playing together. Dominic Dromgoole, our director, has put together a brilliant team and everyone at the Menier has made us feel very welcome.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Marjorie Prime?
Come and join us. We’d love to see you. Marjorie Prime is a brilliant play that is having its UK premiere and it’s only running at 80 minutes long!
“Jordan’s writing is beautifully contemporary. He has a great lightness of touch and wit in dealing with some very painful, human issues”