Every year since Marnie’s runaway and mysterious death her friends meet up and pay tribute to her through chats, waffles, and shenanigans. But this hollow tribute demonstrates something important: None of these friends know exactly how to move on from the past.
Marnie herself—now something between a presence and a ghost in the musical production—joins her friends each year and while she is touched by their remembrances, her wish is for them to just move on. That way, she can move on, too.
Jackson is the neurotic friend, the organizer, whose grieving process seems to be through exercising control. Sam feels hollow and silenced, finding shallow ways to fill the void in his life. Antoni is the new roommate who never knew Marnie, but his outside perspective is not only valuable, but also demonstrates that maybe, just a little, these friends are starting to let go.
The emotional core of the story is Leah, played by writer Sue Goberdhan, whose confusion over Marnie’s wordless departure has left her with a lack of closure that has haunted her for the past five years. Goberdhan plays Leah with so much heart; the vulnerability in her voice, and her genuine love for, and annoyance with, her friends, is incredibly authentic. It is deeply beautiful to watch her on stage.
Marnie has left small clues and letters for her friends to find after she leaves which seems a bit strange at first until we get a fuller picture of who she was to these friends. She is, as they say, “the glue,” and she was adventurous, lived life to the fullest and, as Marnie says, not just to her friends but to everyone in the audience, “Do what you can with the time you’ve got ’cause it’s true that you never know.”
This thesis, which drives the story and message of the play, helps her friends, and the audience, see why Marnie made the choices she made. Marnie’s addresses to the audience and the friends who can’t hear her pose thought-provoking questions about morality and the importance of making every day count.
Sue Goberdhan and Matt Graham’s musical is absolutely wonderful. With an engaging story, characters that could easily be your own best friends, and fantastic songs throughout, this play sends a powerful message: It’s crucial to allow yourself to move forward after losing someone you’ve loved.
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