Fiona Shaw, the versatile Irish actress who brought a searing “Medea” to Broadway in 2002, is set to return to the New York stage in a role that ought to raise eyebrows -- Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Shaw is re-teaming with director Deborah Warner for a new stage adaptation of novelist Colm Toibin’s “The Testament of Mary.” The one-woman drama, scheduled to open April 22 on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre, is being backed by uber-producer Scott Rudin.
The play is to have a limited run in New York through June 16.
“Mary” provides a speculative account of what happened to the virgin following the crucifixion of Jesus. The play follows her contentious relationship with the his disciples and explores her doubts and insecurities, including her denial that Jesus was the son of God.
Toibin’s book originated as a stage monologue, which he then adapted to novel form and published last year. His novel “The Master,” a fictionalized account of the life of author Henry James, received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction in 2004.
“Mary” has the potential to create controversy given its revisionist take on Biblical figures. Terrence McNally earned the wrath of some Christian groups with his 1997 play “Corpus Christi,” which portrayed Jesus as a modern-day gay man.
Shaw starred in a 2010 National Theatre revival of the comedy “London Assurance,” which was broadcast to cinemas around the world. The actress recently had a recurring role in HBO’s “True Blood” and played Petunia Dursley in the “Harry Potter” movies.