The character of Mary Page Marlowe is played by six different actresses, portraying her all the way from her crib to her deathbed. The play jumps around in time between key pivotal moments in her life and more subtle scenes. However, the scenes are only mundane to her, as the audience learns a great deal about her in these revealing scenes. During a conversation with a nurse in Mary’s old age, she casually mentions she only has one child. But, in the opening scene, she has two children. What happened to the other child? The story is filled with questions like this about her life. Some of them are directly answered, some of the answers are hinted at, and others are left completely unknown. It’s a big sign of a well-developed story that the audience is eager for answers.
The production of this show is incredible. Segments of the floor slide out with the characters on them, usually in a thoughtful state. New floors slide in with all new characters. It’s very slick and goes extremely well with the story, sliding into the different parts of her life. The acting is also world class. Carrie Coon’s performance playing Mary in middle age is incredible. In both this show and on HBO’s The Leftovers, she expresses emotions expertly making her character fully realized.
This play is truly thought-provoking. Having different actresses play the same character exemplifies the idea of how different we can be at different stages in our life. Major events change our outlook on life and affect our personalities greatly. During the talk back after the performance, a senior audience member commented that she wished she could have seen this play at different points throughout her own life. See Mary Page Marlowe now at Steppenwolf Theatre through May 29th! You never know what life changing insight you might walk away with.