Shaw visited The Saturday Early Show to discuss this ancient play of passion, pride and revenge.
Shaw explains that Medea is a woman who has been abandoned and betrayed by her husband Jason. Medea is left to fend for herself in a foreign land with no family or support while Jason pursues a marriage of political convenience to the Corinthian princess. Medea's only friends are a chorus of female on-lookers, who comment, in traditional fashion, throughout the play. On top of her woes, Medea finds out that King Kreon is gong to banish her from his land, leaving her and her two little boys with no place to turn.
Medea had used deception and sorcery to help Jason snatch away the coveted Golden Fleece. Her big risk turned Jason into a hero. She even went as far to murder her own brother in order to stop enemies who stood in their way. Shaw says her character is famous for being brave and doing big things for love.
But in the play we find that the tables have turned on Medea. Distraught and in pain, she commits unspeakbale acts of murderous revenge, killing four people including her very own children.
An Irish-born stage actress, Shaw has also made appearances on films, such as "My Left Foot," "Jane Eyre" and both "Harry Potter" movies.
Shaw received her training from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1982 and promptly made her debut in "Love's Labour's Lost." She followed that performance with intense theatric performances as Celia in "As You Like It" (1985), Erika in "Mephisto" (1986), Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew" (1987-1988) and "Mary Stuart" (1988 and 1996), to name a few.
The actress also worked on television programs. She played the role of Hedda Hopper in the acclaimed HBO movie "RKO 281" (1999), which traced the behind the scenes machinations during the making of "Citizen Kane" in 1940-41. She also appeared in the popular BBC miniseries "Gormenghast" (2000), as Irma Prunesquallor.
"Medea" will run until February 22, 2003 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th Street, New York, N.Y.