NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new take on the story of the Virgin Mary debuted on Broadway on Monday night, but Catholics haven’t given the play rave reviews.
The story portrays the mother of Jesus as skeptical about her son, and has been met with peaceful protests from local Catholic groups. Dozens of people were gathered outside of the Walter Kerr Theatre to voice their displeasure with ‘The Testament of Mary.”
“It’s horrible, the way they desecrate Mary,” protestor Taryn Gilbert told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
Others went as far as calling the play an attack.
“This play defames the blessed Virgin Mary. It attacks Christians. It attacks the veracity of the Gospel. It attacks the miracles our Lord worked. And I think it’s extremely offensive,” said protest organizer John Ritchie.
The one-woman show features actress Fiona Shaw portraying the Virgin Mary, and denying that her son Jesus is the son of God. In the play Mary also doubts that Jesus can perform miracles and was only able to rise from the dead in the dreams of his followers.
The Catholic League did not call author Colm Toibin’s work vicious, but did say that, “his attempt to persuade Christians of the fallacies of their religion falls flat.”
The show’s producers defended the play.
“It is neither anti-Mary nor anti-Christianity, but rather a portrait of a very human woman, a mother who is trying to make sense of and come to terms with the tragic death of her son,” they explained.
Theater goers offered their own views on the performance.
“I grew up Roman Catholic. I have my own beliefs, yet I can still see the show and have my own opinion on it,” said Jill Amato, “For me, it really humanized Jesus’ story and belief systems more than anything I’ve ever seen dramatized, or read about, or preached about.”
The show will only be running on Broadway until July, but protest groups told CBS 2 that they plan to return in hopes of getting the show to close earlier.
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