A provocative and powerful retelling of one of the most well known stories of all time, Sydney Theatre Company presents the Australian premiere season of Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary at the Wharf 1 Theatre until 25 February 2017.
For two thousand years, Mary has been silent – a woman seen but not heard. Until now. In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She is not interested in collaborating with the authors of the Gospels, who now also act as her keepers.
Mary’s narrative is both clear-eyed and moving, bringing a mother’s perspective to well known events such as the raising of Lazarus, the turning water to wine, and of course, the crucifixion. At the core of the play beats the heart of a woman grieving an unbearable loss, questioning if it was all worth it.
Newly announced STC Resident Director Imara Savage and Resident Designer Elizabeth Gadsby are at the helm, with the Helpmann Award-winning Alison Whyte (Love and Information, Travelling North) in the title role.
“Everyone who walks into the theatre will bring with them a set of assumptions about Mary’s story”, says Director Imara Savage. “This piece will turn all of that on its head. Mary is made determinedly and decidedly more human by Tóibín. His play takes the story back to its most visceral, and asks what it would be like for a mother to witness something so barbaric and horrific happen to her child.”
The novella on which the play is based, The Testament of Mary was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. Tóibín first produced the book as a monologue for the 2011 Dublin Theatre Festival, under the name of Testament. Fiona Shaw starred in the Broadway stage adaptation The Testament of Mary in 2013, which was nominated for three Tony Awards, before receiving rave reviews at The Barbican Theatre in London in 2014.
Imara Savage was appointed Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company in 2016, and has previously directed Hay Fever (2016), After Dinner (2015) and Machinal (2013) for STC. Alison Whyte is one of Australia’s most accomplished and celebrated actors, with an outstanding reputation in theatre, television and film. Recent selected credits for stage include: Faith Healer (Belvoir / MTC), Last Man Standing (MTC), Love and Information (Malthouse / STC), Travelling North (STC), The Bloody Chamber (Malthouse), and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (Belvoir / MTC).
Director: Imara Savage Starring: Alison Whyte Designer: Elizabeth Gadsby Composer and Sound Designer: Max Lyandvert
“This excellent production… dramatises brilliantly Colm Tóibín’s radical reassessment of Mary.” – Australian Book Review
The Testament of Mary
Wharf 1 Theatre – Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay (Sydney)
Season continues to 25 February 2017
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au
Image: Alison Whyte stars in The Testament of Mary – photo by James Green