Fiona Shaw

An Irish-born stage actress often (to her dismay) compared to Vanessa Redgrave, Fiona Shaw has been making inroads onscreen as well since the late 1980s. Intense and fiercely intellectual off-stage and on, this statuesque brunette with a great aquiline profile graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1982 and promptly made her debut in "Love's Labour's Lost." Since then, she has turned in one powerful--sometimes controversial--stage performance after another, including Celia in "As You Like It" (1985), Erika in "Mephisto" (1986), a near-psychotic Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew" (1987-1988) and "Mary Stuart" (1988 and 1996), earning a reputation as a superb classical actress/daredevil. Shaw's most hotly-debated role was as "Richard II," which she played in 1995 and which marked her sixth collaboration (since 1988) with her longtime friend, director Deborah Warner. The two made their NYC debut in 1996 with a hit staging of "The Waste Land," T. S. Eliot's 433-line poem about death and resurrection. Critics praised Shaw for her brilliant performance in the tour de force which had the actress standing alone on a bare stage, conjuring up a bleak gallery of characters lost in a realm of spiritual blight.