PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: The Testament of Mary—At Long Last, Her Side of the Story

By Harry Haun
23 Apr 2013

Deborah Warner
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Perhaps realizing Medeas and Waste Lands don't come in bunches like bananas, Shaw goes after her new role with dime-spinning fury and relish. "I have passion for it because it has taken a long time," she said. "We have to work very hard at it. It's not easy to turn a novel into a play, but if you boil it down and stay with it so it's not doing any of the work for you, you really can find the world under each time.

"It's been really challenging. The wonderful thing, of course, has been doing it with Deborah, whom I trust with my life. She hears the bum notes, she hears the thing that isn't true, she watches like a hawk. When you feel you're being naturally looked after, you feel it's worth going into the danger of the zone. It's quite scary, actually!"

Telling this story from a mother's point of view permits her considerable latitude, she contended. "Y'know, a mother doesn't have to be polite about her son. She loves him, but that doesn't mean she likes him. And he doesn't do anything very likable—for her—so, in that way, it's quite abrasive, but it's not alienating, I hope. I mean, she says it in other bits. She loves him, and she watches him die. It's absolute agony."

Shaw plans to take a break from acting after this engagement and will direct The Rape of Lucrecia for Glyndebourne when she gets back to England, but in December she will boomerang back to BAM to do Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. No rest, evidently, for the insanely gifted.

Among the opening-night crowd at the Sardi's after-party were an interesting two (Salman Rushdie and Carrie Fisher), a definite two (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita), Martha Plimpton and, declining to be photographed, the youngest of 'em all: Dakota Fanning, all of 19.