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Mary is a puzzling character... 
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Post Mary is a puzzling character...
Dear Musicals.Net Posters,

I've never, EVER been able to figure out how one should play the role of Mary. Is she supposed to be played like a Hippie, or as "The Hooker With the Heart of Gold"? Should she sound lazy and drugged out on pot, or should she sound sane and rational? Should she BEHAVE like a nymphomaniac, or should she seem like an average woman who just simply ended up being a prostitute? Should she LOOK dirty and grody and possibly diseased, like a REAL whore, or should she look as clean and proper as an Avon lady? Should she be easily angered where Judas is concerned, or should she behave like a pseudo airhead, who is just happy to be seductive and erotic? Is she trying to seduce EVERYBODY during "Everything's Alright"?

I'm sure that I'D just play her as a cheerful nymphomaniac, fer SHURR, but then my question would be, "Is Jesus supposed to be turned ON by her? I mean...a LOT?" I'm assuming that if Mary is played as a cheerfully seductive nymphomaniac, she WOULD, of COURSE be afraid of REAL love...Cue "I Don't Know How to Love Him"...

I think that part of my confusion is that the original Mary was played as a total Hippie, and that Joanna Ampil had such a PURE voice when SHE portrayed her.

What IS the true essence of this much misunderstood character? Is she JUST a prostitute, or does she realize that she BELIEVES in Jesus' case early on during the musical?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
:?:

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Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:08 am
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Post Re: Mary is a puzzling character...
She is a contradictory character in the Bible too. Therefore you couldn't wait an unambiguous answer


Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:03 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: Mary is a puzzling character...
Here's what I picture.
Definitely not drugged out. That would limit the performance options too much unless you wanted to get really creative about making the character funny.
Nympho armor, yes. Mary can never relax inside because she has to monitor the horny idiots surrounding her in order to keep herself safe. Instead of coming out and saying bitterly, "You guys are a joke," she teases them (and hides her disappointment at getting objectified instead of loved) with sexuality. She's used to going, "Whee, I'm a whore, I'm a whore," using lots of attention as a smokescreen so nobody will notice that she isn't getting anything deeper than just attention.
She's different with Jesus. He makes her nervous because she doesn't have to protect herself around him, and if her normal modus operandus doesn't apply where he's concerned, what IS she supposed to do with him?? I think she's saying "everything's alright" as much to herself as to him. She tries to act nonchalant despite being out of her depth with him. "Um, I'll try showing that I like you by tucking you in for a nap? Yeah, that sounds normal. I can do this. Focus, Mary."
I suppose that even if she used to look dirty, she's cleaned up to be around Jesus because she doesn't want to bring "reality" into the cozy bubble surrounding him where she doesn't feel like a ho.
Jesus probably understands her well enough to avoid giving her any overtly sexual responses. Mary knows how to deal with horny, demanding, childish men. Yawn. But a man who's in control of himself? Nothing could be scarier for a woman whose toolbox only includes ways of responding to people who are out of control.
As for Judas, maybe she gets frustrated at his efforts to pop her bubble, even though she believes he's only saying the truth about her.
I Don't Know How to Love Him could start with her trying to convince herself that she's in charge of the situation with Jesus, then end with her crumbling like a frightened child. She can't bring herself to ask him for a deeper connection because getting a no would be horrible, while getting a yes would mean letting him find out that she doesn't know what she's doing in love because no one has ever loved her, the one thing she spends her life hiding.
I see Mary having keen awareness of the people around her (mirroring the political awareness shared by Jesus and Judas alone among their friends). "I wonder how he knew" is a sarcastic burn to Peter.


Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:20 pm
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Post Re: Mary is a puzzling character...
She was both battered by life, and a survivor of that life. Prostitution was so common in the days of the Roman Empire that at times it was almost respectable.

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Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:07 am
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