The consummate actor’s actress, Irish mummer Fiona Shaw is currently spilling blood and making critics swoon (and even causing one audience member to faint) in Medea, the ancient tragedy that seems to resonate with today’s anxiety-ridden New Yorkers. We caught up with her in the dressing room.
Where do you stay in the city? The Upper West Side. I can see the river, which is just fantastic because you know all rivers are the same river in the end -- and they’re all rivers I’ve known.
Do you feel like New York’s changed a lot since the last time you were here? It’s lost its innocence and become more fierce in a way. Now I think America is terribly ready for tragedy, and I think America understands tragedy. I think it’s wonderful that you’re willing to take a play that is full of politics and violence and have it on in the midst of Hairspray! It’s a myth that people need light things in times of sorrow. I think they need enormous things.
Coming from England, how do do you find America? Have you seen Bowling for Columbine? But I don’t find Americans more violent! I meet them and they seem terribly nice. Still, you’re a very hardened culture, like all big civilizations on the brink of becoming empires. You’re bound to have a thuggish element in your government. I feel very sorry for the people of this country.
On a lighter note . . . any New Year’s resolutions? A vacation maybe? I’ll do that when I die.