Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Secular reviewers are raving about The Testament of Mary, a play that presents Mary as a pagan who calls the apostles “misfits” and doesn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God.
According the Independent, the play written by Colm Toibin opened in New York last week and featured actress Fiona Shaw playing the role of an elderly Mary who is living in exile in Ephesus.
The opening scene in the play features Shaw wearing a blue robe and sitting inside a glass box in imitation of a typical statue of Mary. Shaw gradually discards these trappings and eventually strips naked on stage, implying that the real Mary is being slowly revealed as the play progresses.
The production is based upon the idea that the apostles are misrepresenting the story of Jesus. Referring to them as “misfits”, she insists on telling her side of the story, which is presented in the most vulgar and blasphemous way possible.
As the LA Times described it: ” . . . (T)he Virgin Mary isn’t looking all that virginal in Colm Toibin’s defiantly strange play” . . . in which Mary presents herself as “sucking on a cigarette and swigging from a bottle of spirits” during the play.
Protestors gathered outside the Walter Kerr theatre on opening night carrying placards denouncing the play as blasphemous.
Whether or not their presence rattled any consciences is known only to the Lord, but the star-studded audience included celebrities such as Salman Rushdie, Sienna Miller, Carrie Fisher and Chris Rock, as well as the author Colm Toibin. The average ticket price for the show is $125 and the play will run until June 16. It is expected to generate several million in box-office proceeds.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League gives us all of the explanation we need about why such a play was produced, and what kind of damage it might do the holy name of Mary.
“Toibin, who is a homosexual ex-Catholic, is not exactly a champion of the Catholic Church. Indeed, he is a vociferous critic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality,” Donohue writes.
“He is entitled to his views, though it must be said that his attempt to persuade Christians of the fallacies of their religion falls flat.”
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