If you you know Fiona Shaw only from her film work, then you don’t know Fiona Shaw. Her overpoweringly impressive solo performance in The Testament of Mary is – I’ll just say it – searingly brilliant. I’ve quipped to people who enthuse about “searing” performances that I’d rather theatre not burn me. However, if it’s done as expertly as Shaw does it, I truly have no complaints.
Thank goodness I know this play very intimately – I played Macbeth’s nemesis MacDuff in college – otherwise I might not have been able to follow this artful but somewhat opaque adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
This is so sentimental – and irresistible. First appearing on Broadway in 1953, featuring silent movie star Lillian Gish in the role now played by Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful follows Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small Texas hometown of Bountiful one last time. Her bossy daughter-in-law forbids it, her overprotective son worries it’s too much for her frail health and nobody will cash her pension check.
I liked this a great deal more than I expected! It’s no secret that I don’t care much for melodramatic plays full of straight boy attitude – I’m talking to you David Mamet and Neil LaBute! Of that sort of thing, I most enjoy Sam Shepard, who digs a lot deeper than the abovementioned duo; plus, his plays are filled with visual and literary images of great (and often somewhat mysterious) impact.