Playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre located at 219 West 48th street. The play runs one hour thirty minutes with no intermission. It closes on June 10, 2013.
The Testament of Mary is a short novel by Irish writer Colm Toibin. The book was published in November 2012.
It was first produced as a monologue for the 2011 Dublin Theatre Festival.
Deborah Warner is the director. She has won two Lawrence Olivier Awards for “Hedda Gabler” in 1992 and “Titus Andronicus in 1988. In the United States she has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “Happy Days” in 2008, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for “”Medea” in 2003 and a Drama Desk Award for “The Waste Land in 1997.
2013 marks a twenty five year anniversary of the working partnership between Fiona Shaw and Deborah Warner.
Fiona Shaw is known for her roles as Petunia Dursley in Harry Potter films and in her role in the HBO series True Blood. She plays Marnie Stonebrook.
This is an Avant guard show. Ten minutes before the show starts the audience can come on stage. There is a real yellow head vulture on what looks like a tree stub. The keeper said he is only on stage for fifteen minutes and is trained to fly around. He gave me a little history on his work (bird). Fiona takes him off the stage within minutes of the play starting. There are props everywhere. On the left side of the stage Fiona is in a plastic container wearing a robe. She is holding white lilies in one hand and in the other an apple. It looks like she is praying. On the right side of the stage you can see thru the stage floor, there is a mat, jugs and broken jugs. When everyone leaves there is a curtain put around the box. It is taken off and the box is removed. Fiona is in modern clothes.
The setting is now.
Mary mother of Jesus Christ is telling the story leading up to his death. This is a mother’s view as to what happened. There is no details on Jesus life or preaching per say. Except for the time he changed water to wine at a wedding and when he got a cripple man to walk again.
There are things on stage that represent events that happened in Mary and Jesus life. A ladder is the cross he carries, the vulture, surrounding Jesus when he dies on the cross, the setting under the stage- where he was laid to rest. The objects are opened to interpretation. Objects are put around haphazardly.
On the left is a pool of water in the stage floor, to represent a river? Mary takes her clothes off and goes in. Is it to wash the blood of Jesus off her?
Mary throws things around, she screams, pulls her hair in despair. Is this a women suffering from her son’s death or has she gone crazy from grief? She mentions Lazarus death and her friendship with his mother.
Fiona is captivating when she does her orations. She is memorizing.
No matter what your religion is you won’t be offended. It would help if you remember your Bible stories.
This is not a play for everyone. The way it is presented is quirky. It’s different and would do better off Broadway.
But if you want to see something different this is it.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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