Joan of Arc | A Review
Joan of Arc. As a child, I was fascinated by the Wishbone version’s sparkly tree and the dynamic but distantly ethereal Joan.
In last night’s show produced by Johnathan Schofield and Diana Little, I was moved by a heroic yet accessible and real woman - no sparkly tree needed.
The 19th century script by Jane Alice Sargant is a challenging prospect. The text is iambic, yet sometimes more clunky and vague than that of our favorite William Shakespeare. Still, the actors handle their words well overall, with only a few falling prey to the rhythm of their lines or the sometimes overwhelming descriptive deluge. A story like that of Joan needs to be told in a different way than we tell our 21st century stories, and verse fits that bill.
The play opens during the Hundred Years’ War, a bloody conflict between the French and the English for control of the French throne – a conflict that ironically lasted well over a hundred years before grinding slowly to a halt in 1453.
The French heir apparent, Charles, needs help. His position is extremely precarious, and he is willing to give up the chance of a crown rather than risk everything in a war he cannot win. But then Joan comes. And, in the scene many of you are familiar with, she seeks him out successfully in a crowded court, asking him to help her fulfill her divine mission.
The rest is history, right? Dull, boring words on the pages of those dull, boring books you had to read for high school. Full of long speeches and dusty robes. Right? Wrong!
This play impacted me in a way I did not expect. The many characters who love, fight, betray, suffer and die in this story – they are real. Of course, they were based in historical fact, but they are real in an intimate, powerful way that any a