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Fiona Shaw to take Ancient Mariner show to New York

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The award-winning actor is to revive her epic performance of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's longest poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, for a US premiere

Only a few weeks after her solo Broadway play The Testament of Mary closed early, Fiona Shaw has announced a return to New York, when her recitation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner gets its American premiere in December.

The staging of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem, which premiered in Epidaurus in Greece last year before a London run at the Old Vic Tunnels in January, will play for two weeks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of its annual Next Wave festival.

Although she is joined on stage by dancer Daniel Hay-Gordon, the Irish actor performs the text single-handedly in an extraordinary feat of memory, let alone stamina. The poem, Coleridge's longest, tells the story of a sailor who shoots an albatross during a voyage and runs into a seam of ill fortune, as the rest of the crew perish on board.

Shaw has a remarkable track record with solo shows in New York. Her solo recitation of TS Eliot's The Waste Land at the Liberty theatre in 1996 won her a Drama Desk award for outstanding solo performance, and she has been nominated in the same category at this year's Outer Critics Circle awards for Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary, which closed on Broadway on 5 May after 16 performances. While the production is in contention for three Tony awards, Shaw missed out on a nomination for best actress.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, whose all-female Donmar Warehouse staging of Julius Caesar is scheduled to transfer to the nearby St Anne's Warehouse in October.

Shaw has played the Brooklyn Academy of Music before, starring alongside Alan Rickman in the Abbey Theatre Dublin's acclaimed staging of Henrik Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman in 2011, and in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days four years earlier.


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