Tony Award-nominated actress Fiona Shaw talks about the responsibility she feels to deliver both the sacred and the imaginative aspects in Broadway's The Testament of Mary, a new one-woman play about the mother of Jesus.
"It's not every day you get asked to play the Virgin Mary," Fiona Shaw says.
Shaw is talking about her role in the world-premiere stage version of Colm Tóibín's 2012 novella, The Testament of Mary, now a one-woman play at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
A native of County Cork, Ireland, Shaw is considered one of the finest actresses around today. She has won four Olivier Awards in London, and was nominated for a Tony in 2003 for her title performance in Medea. New Yorkers also know her for her one-woman version of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, which came to the city in 1996 at the Liberty Theatre on West 42nd Street, and her portrayal of Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2008. Both won rousing critical cheers. All three were directed by Deborah Warner, her collaborator on at least 13 productions, including The Testament of Mary.
Shaw is perhaps more widely known as Harry Potter's annoying movie aunt, Petunia Dursley, and as Marnie Stonebrook in HBO's "True Blood." Tóibín is a prize-winning Irish novelist whose highly praised works include "The Master" and "Brooklyn." The lead producer is the Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy award-winning Scott Rudin, who was a co-producer of Medea. An earlier stage version of the current play, called Testament, was performed by Tony winner Marie Mullen (The Beauty Queen of Leenane) in 2011 at the Dublin Theatre Festival. That version led to the novella, which led to the current production.