Mary Magdalene (Maeterlinck play)

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Mary Magdalene
Georgette Leblanc 1913.png
Georgette Leblanc in Mary Magdalene (1910)
Written by Maurice Maeterlinck
Characters Mary Magdalene, Lucius Verus, Jesus (voice only), healed blind man, others
Date premiered 1910 (1910)
Place premiered Jerusalem at the time of the Passion
Genre tragedy

Mary Magdalene is a 1910 tragic play by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. It inspired a symphonic work by Kosaku Yamada.

The play had its premiere in an English translation performed at New York City's The New Theatre. That was also the first United States performance of any Maeterlinck play.[1][2]

Based on the Biblical story of Mary Magdalene, the plot of the three-act play was summarized as follows by the New York Times in 1910 as follows:

The Magdalene is a courtesan, who in the course of the drama becomes ennobled spiritually by contact with the Nazarene [Jesus]. Her tempter and lover, Lucius Verus, the Roman General, labors under the delusion that the Nazarene is his rival, so when the woman begs Verus to save Jesus from crucifixion, he names as his price the Magdalene's complete surrender to him. The glory of her reformation has been too complete to permit her to accede to Verus wishes, and Mary vainly turns to those who have been cured by the Nazarene and urges them to save Him, but they shrink from her in cowardice.

With her refusal, the Roman officer charges the Magdalene with having been the Savior's undoing, and the crowd revile her. linking her name with that of Judas. Actual violence is prevented by an uproar in the street below. The Nazarene is on his way to his doom, and the spectacle is described by the blind man to whom the Savior had given sight. The final scene shows Verus leaving the Magdalene, a motionless statue, as he goes out to join the screeching, cursing mob stoning Christ as he stumbles toward the cross."[2]


  1. ^ "'Mary Magdalene' for New Theatre", New York Times, 25 November 1910, p.11.
  2. ^ a b "Busy Nights for Playgoers", New York Times, 4 December 1910, p.X1.

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