Review: ‘Mary Page Marlowe’ Lives an Ordinary, Extraordinary Life

In Tracy Letts’s gripping play, it takes six actors (and a doll) to embody one steely, difficult woman, from infancy to the age of 69.

Comments: 6

  1. As much as I looked forward to seeing this (only because of TL), it equals my disappointment. Being chronologically out of order wasn't the issue, I knew that going in. Only stage of MPM's life that had any care for me was later in her life while sitting with her husband watching tv, they share the content of the letter she received. Any story for stage or screen should draw you in, not be so esoteric that it shuts you out.

  2. This is a complex, yet easily digestible play that entertains and enlightens. Like all great art, it deals directly with the human condition, something hard to wrap one's hands around; this production opens that envelope. To those paying attention, life presents itself as a mystery; Tracy Letts does not present us with a facile vision to make us superficially feel good. Each of us born to different circumstances, at different stages we swim with or against the tide. Mary Page Marlowe is everyman. She struggles to deal with her circumstances and is battered along the way. Ultimately the playwright reveals if Mary achieve what we all hope for, grace. We, the audience, are blessed to see the complexity of her life through all her external and internal drama and confusion, and discover whether Mary Page Marlowe finds a way to swim to shore.

  3. Am I confused, or is the actress pictured in the top photograph Susan Pourfar rather than Kellie Overbey? The review also states that it was Overbey who plays the scene involving a "disaster of her own making" but I distinctly remember Pourfar as having performed that scene. Overall, I think the review is basically on point. The scenes in the play are individually well written and performed but I never felt that they added up to a coherent portrait of a life. It might have been Letts' point that life sort of happens to us rather than following our script, but somehow I left the theater feeling that the whole was less than the sum of its parts. Worth seeing, though, for some excellent writing, staging and performance.

  4. I just saw it yesterday and felt the same way.

  5. We saw this at Steppenwolf last year. The women liked it better than the men (it spoke to us in a way it didn't to them) and all of the psychotherapists appreciated the nonlinear structure of the piece, the seemingly random way in which the audience learns about Mary's life and connects the dots.

    That said, most every audience member who spoke up in the (very intelligent) talkback agreed that the scene at the dry cleaner was forced and oh-so-trite. Sounds like TL didn't listen to our suggestion to get rid of it.

  6. I am so appreciative of this play, it's endeavor and it's stellar performances. It's not for everyone. It is a contemplative venture with acute, economic slices of a life which are excellently directed and performed by all, of course the six Mary Pages especially. Ms. Pourfar and Ms. Overbey continue to soar, and cherished Blair Brown with her 3 very different performances in one season (one in which she was the only presence to make it endurable), astounds me and moves my heart with her gifts and generosities as an artist. 'What a piece of work is Woman.' For those observations alone, it's a worthy 90 minutes of theatre.