Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why Mary?

By Robert Falls, Goodman Theatre Artistic Director

Rehearsals for the Goodman’s upcoming production of
Mary charged forward this week, amid the third-worst blizzard in Chicago history. The first performance of this world premiere by Thomas Bradshaw (right) is this Saturday night; below, Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls shares his thoughts on this remarkable new work.

When considering works for inclusion in a season at Goodman Theatre, we look for plays that contain myriad qualities: the uniqueness of the artistic voice (or voices) that power the project, the theatrical viability and vibrancy of that voice, and the urgency with which that voice must be heard—or in other words, why must this play be done by the Goodman now? Inherent in all of these considerations is our desire to stimulate a dialogue—both between our artists and audiences, and among our audiences in general—that addresses significant issues and concerns
in our lives, our society and our world.

Mary is the newest work by Guggenheim Fellow and Prince Prize-winning playwright Thomas Bradshaw, one of the brightest lights of a new generation of young writers who focus on the ideas and beliefs that continue to factionalize us, whether in the context of our families or in our society. Commissioned by the Goodman, Mary confronts the pervasive nature of racism and homophobia in American society with biting satire, while attacking and undermining the social and racial stereotypes that still plague us. Mary is timely and theatrical, and we hope that it will spark a lively discourse on the changing nature of bigotry and oppression in our
contemporary world.

When it was presented in staged reading form as part of our 2009 New Stages Series, Mary elicited a variety of passionate audience responses. I have no doubt that this production, under the direction of Thomas’ longtime collaborator May Adrales, will do the same.


  1. I saw "Mary" last Sunday and I totally disagree with the review of it in today's Sun Times. I thought the actors were excellent and the writing was extremely effective. I don't think it was supposed to be a "feel good" play, as our history is not a "feel good" history (with respect to social issues). I wonder why the fact that a person, who is supposed to be educated, could still be so ignorant (which to me represents the theme of the play) completely
    escaped the consciousness of the Sun Times reviewer!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with "Anonymous"! I think that the writing, direction and acting were all top notch. Theater should be thought provoking like this...too many shows today are not.

  3. I just saw ``Mary'' today and thought it was very good and accurate as well as thought provoking. The ending was surprising, but on the other hand should not have been. It seemed that the more educated Mary became, the more ignorant and intolerant she was. I truly felt sorry for the Southern couple's son in the end because he not only lost his family and mate, but Mary as well, and her ignorant comments really hurt him beyond measure which is ironic since he was her champion.