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THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews

SexyPants88
Understudy
joined:12/29/11
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 03:07pm
Has anyone seen this yet? Haven't heard much about it, other than that there was a protest.
proud new New Yorker (okay, proud new Astorian)
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djb
Stand-by
joined:5/17/06
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 04:50pm
I will be there tonight.
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 10:10pm
I was there tonight and The Testament of Mary ranks up there with my least favorite things I've seen on a Broadway stage.

I got absolutely nothing out of it and though Fiona Shaw is a splendid actress I didn't care for the character; what an irritating person to spend 90 minutes with.

Upon exiting the theater one of my friends said, "It's not the Catholics who have anything to protest about, but rather the theatergoers."
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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egghumor
Broadway Legend
joined:3/9/11
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 10:17pm
put the crown of thorns around my mouth... i'm speechless

April Saul
Broadway Legend
joined:2/17/06
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 10:44pm
Whizzer, have you seen Much Ado with Cake and Siff? I've been hyping it here after loving it yesterday, and it might give you a lovely Shakespearean break from the last few half-baked Broadway previews it sounds like you've endured. This one doesn't sound much better than Orphans, Big Knife, or Assembled Parties...although they probably make shows like Pippin that much sweeter!
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 10:53pm
April, I haven't seen Much Ado, but your review had me intrigued and I am looking into going tomorrow night. I like both Cake and Siff, and some fun Shakespeare would be very welcome after the plays I've seen this week.

I'm practically sitting here in anger over this show tonight. As much as I didn't like The Big Knife and Orphans (Assembled Parties had issues, but was better than those other two), I would rather sit through either again than Testament of Mary.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:00pm
Woooooow, Whizzer. That last comment has made the possibility of ever seeing this go completely away.
"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
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RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:02pm
What was it like? Just her sitting there on stage?
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egghumor
Broadway Legend
joined:3/9/11
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:07pm
She doesn't juggle fruit?
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:08pm
Whizzer, when someone as well-versed and accepting as you are feels that way, I'll avoid it like the plague! Thanks!!
BroadwayEd
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:10pm
No, she doesn't just sit there. There's lots of stuff on stage actually- sort of reminded me of the set to Jerusalem, without the camper and all the green forest. There are lawn chairs, a ladder, barbed wire, a working faucet that pours into a pool of water in the stage, a tree, a table and lots of paper.

She walks all over the stage and interacts with the different pieces as she tells different stories about Jesus' life. We hear about him healing the sick, raising Lazarus from the dead, his trial and crucifixion.

SLIGHT SPOILER
She gets naked and jumps in the pool of water after the crucifixion story.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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egghumor
Broadway Legend
joined:3/9/11
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:12pm
But she doesn't juggle fruit?
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RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:15pm
I hate one-person shows. Not sure this is my thing.
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ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:16pm
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews

So you would agree with her previous assessment of the show, Whizzer?

"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
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RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/28/13 at 11:16pm
I hate one-person shows. Not sure this is my thing.
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djb
Stand-by
joined:5/17/06
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 03:08am
I have to agree and disagree with Whizzer about this play. To begin with, it does NOT rank for me in the worst things I've ever seen on Broadway. I never hated this play. I was indifferent, yes. But I only had to invest 90 minutes and not that much money, so I can't say it was amongst the worst things I've ever seen.

To begin with, the set is basically an installation that you can go up and observe before the play begins. It begins with all sorts of props and pieces, and Fiona in the classic "Mary" garb of pink dress and blue cloak inside a glass box praying. There's also a live vulture onstage which was... fun. The play could have worked much better as an art gallery installation because it was certainly more active and interesting when everyone was onstage wandering around and reacting to the vulture.

I agree with Whizzer that the set (and also parts of Shaw's performance) strongly reminded me of "Jerusalem"... It was a very similar "existing in the physical space" sort of performance, very tactile. The play began alright, but by the second fourth of the play, my eyes were certainly fluttering. I was really interested in the last half, though. That said, I was never enthralled. Shaw is absolutely one of my favorite stage actress and I am certainly attuned to her style, which I thought was in excellent form here. That said, the text of the play is strange. I disagree with Whizzer that the character was "an irritating person"... I found the perspective to be intriguing and original, though not necessarily interesting. If we're following the plot of the play, the character's son, in her eye's, has died in vain for a ridiculous/unreal cause. It never came across to me as irritating, rather that Colm Tóibín was trying to be tongue in cheek and provocative. I found her to be exhausted and disgusted as she regards her son's life in retrospect, but she never annoyed me about it.

I was left with some incredibly moving and stark visual memories by the director and designers rather than any specific great writing/acting moments. The concept was interesting, but it never feels complete. Shaw is a fabulous actress, but the whole thing was like an okay cheeseburger. When I have a great cheeseburger, I tell everyone I know where I got it. When I just have an okay one, I really don't talk about it.
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SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 05:10am
I doubt seriously I'll see this — it doesnt sound like a really great way to drop a hundred bucks — but I'll ask something that's been bothering me a lot of date about these new shows.

Who the hell thinks this is really Broadway fare? I mean, this and HARDBODY and a few others this season are proabbly all decent enough shows, but they sound like the kind of thing that should be OFF-Nroadway, not on. I dont want to perpetuate the theory that Broadway should be nothing but theme-park-ride musicals like SPIDERMAN, but if you're shelling out 150 bucks for a ticket, there are certain expectations that should be met.

After all, most of you posting here get your tickets for dirt cheap — you must, considering how many shows you see a month, let alone a year. Would you seriously put down that kind of cash if you had to pay full price to see this stuff? I just cant fathom what's going through a producer's mind when someone thinks a play like this is really going to draw in the consistent audiences needed to keep this running.
http://docandraider.com
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Jungle Red
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/12
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 05:16am
If you're comparing a Broadway musical to a cheeseburger, it can't be that good.
"Bill Clinton is the ultimate whore! He stole Madonna's crown." -Jim Colyer, on 10/29/2012
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Matt Rogers
Broadway Star
joined:10/4/04
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 07:38am
There is a live vulture on stage???? Why???
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 07:47am
djb, I liked reading your comments. Let me clarify when I said it was one of my least favorite things to sit through on Broadway. I don't think it's one of the worst written or worst produced or worst acted shows I've seen; there are other candidates for those. This just was one of the hardest shows I've had to endure sitting through at the Broadway level because something about it created such a violent reaction inside me.

The reason I described her as irritating was because she was so unpleasant, unfunny and most importantly not provocative. Shaw read each line like it was the most incredible thing we had ever heard, and yet it was nothing new.

I knew this wasn't going to be a laugh riot, but I think it was a mistake to not have a few light/funny moments. And if you're not going to give us any humor the drama needs to be more shocking, and the theological revelations more interesting.

We've seen so many plays and movies now where Jesus and other biblical figures are portrayed in a more human than divine light, so seeing Mary as just a mother concerned for her son wasn't premise enough to engage me in this play.

I didn't know if I would ever connect with the subject matter on a deep level, but I was hoping to at least get caught up in Shaw's performance, which never happened because I felt like she constantly had to be fighting against the script to hold our interest. (This was especially true during the story of Lazarus!)
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 07:48am
"It begins with all sorts of props and pieces, and Fiona in the classic "Mary" garb of pink dress and blue cloak inside a glass box praying. "

It's been a very big week in New York for actresses in boxes.
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Jungle Red
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/12
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 08:12am
That brings us back to Kevin!
"Bill Clinton is the ultimate whore! He stole Madonna's crown." -Jim Colyer, on 10/29/2012
Luv2goToShows
Broadway Star
joined:9/13/09
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/29/13 at 01:20pm
Sorry to hear WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel, I am seeing this tomorrow.
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/31/13 at 11:44am
Hoo boy! This one was hard to sit through, but was it worth it in the end? I'm still making up my mind about that.


********POSSIBLE SPOILERS***************************

As someone who was raised Catholic, I found this play hard to digest. It upends so much of Catholic principles held dear by so many people: the Virgin birth, that Jesus was the son of God, etc. And the image of Mary it portrays! Mary's angry! Mary's smoking a cigarette! Mary's getting naked! I still don't know what to make of it all, even from my current perspective, which I would consider secular. The question is, what does this play add up to? Yes, it's a portrait of a woman who occupies a singular place in the church's history, and maybe even the world's history. But basically she's a woman who will never be free of her grief over losing her son, seeing him tortured to death and being unable to help.

***********MORE SPOILERS****************************

I did like some of the imagery on stage. I assume the vulture was there to call to mind those who put Christ to death, or even Christ's followers, who Mary believes didn't do enough to keep him out of harm's way. And the water scene was amazing for a couple of reasons; first of all, Fiona is completely naked, and second of all, I had assumed the pool of water on stage was very shallow. I was shocked that she disappeared, feet-first, into its depths! I wondered if she would come up again, but she did surface. I assume that was Mary's baptism. I also liked how the ladder stood in for the cross, especially when she was carrying it over her shoulder.

As you can see, I'm struggling with what this play means and what it means to me, and I hope there's a better answer than "not much."

At the very least, it was a novel way to spend Holy Saturday!














Updated On: 3/31/13 at 11:44 AM
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Sauja
Broadway Star
joined:1/7/07
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/31/13 at 07:05pm
Saw this last night and had a wildly different reaction from other posters here. I found the entire production unbelievably moving, deeply thrilling, and utterly involving. The transition from pre-show installation with Mary as a familiar I on to performance with stripped down, angry, emotional Mary established immediately how strange and different the version of the story would be.

I thought it was a heartbreaking consideration of a mother's anger-tinged grief that brought the biblical story down to earth in a humanizing way that really shook me. I can't speak to how much of my reaction had to do with being raised Christian, or on another note being a big fan of stripped down theater. To me, it's a highlight of the season on Broadway or off. I hope others have the chance to feel the same profound impact of the show that I did, although as other comments show it's not for everyone!
I started a blog! Cause I'm a nerd. http://100showsayear.blogspot.com/
Luv2goToShows
Broadway Star
joined:9/13/09
THE TESTAMENT OF MARY previews
Posted: 3/31/13 at 07:36pm
I saw it yesterday and am still not sure what I think of it.

I am curious, for those who read the book, how close does the play follow it.

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