note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for heresy in 1431. A second trial, just twenty-five years later, found her innocent--- too late, of course, for poor Joan. Speaking of foot dragging, the Catholic Church took almost five hundred years to declare her a saint! George Bernard Shaw’s definitive work on the subject is rarely performed these days, especially when budgets are tight. Shaw’s cast is huge and not many theaters can splurge on the big budget show. Thank heaven, as Joan might say, for the Wheelock Family Theatre, presenting ST. JOAN in all its glory through the end of November.
Shaw’s luminous language---which is often quite funny--- and the characters who speak it so beautifully---make this production a must-see. Director Susan Kosoff gets first rate performances from everyone, especially from Andrea Ross as the impetuous maid, from De’Lon Grant as her stalwart military advisor and from Gerard Slattery as the captain who calls her “an angel.”
Joan is opposed right and left by the clergy. From James Bodge’s self-serving Archbishop to Dan Dowling’s scheming prelate, she seems doomed from the start by “the church militant.” And if church enemies were not enough, Bill Mootos’ plotting Earl of Warwick seals her fate on the secular side. Only Steven M. Key’s Brother Martin takes Joan’s part at the trial. Even though we know the outcome, Shaw fills the play with suspense—and resonance for our time. Don’t miss this chance to see it.