I’m a huge geek when it comes to Joan of Arc. I feel like she’s my spirit animal. When I got a comp ticket to see Saint Joan produced by the Manhattan Theatre Company, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
In case you don’t know the story of Joan of Arc: Picture a peasant girl with no military background going and telling the French king and a bunch of dudes that she had visions/voices from Archangel Michael and the gang to lead France in the ongoing war with England. They figured why not, they were getting their butts kicked. With Joan at the helm France won and reclaimed their country. Joan was ended up being captured by the English. France pulled a Mariah Carey and acted like they didn’t know her. The English were scared of her and thought she was a witch, so they lit her up. They had the nerve to burn her three times, because her organs survived until the second fire. Finally they realized they know they did her dirty, she was declared a saint in 1920.
Saint Joan is the telling of how it all went down. Condola Rashad plays Joan in the production. What I appreciated about her performance is that she played Joan as sane. Some interpretations portray her as a little ticky boom and over the top. There wasn’t enough of Daniel Sunjata as Joan’s ally Dauphin. The rest of the cast including John Glover was fine.
Long story short, it’s a show worth seeing, especially if you are a history buff, Francophile, and/or lover of Joan. The play is written by George Bernard Shaw and premiered in 1923. That also means it goes on and on in some places where it doesn’t need to. Playwrights back in the day loved to write long as scenes just because. There’s a scene where the old dudes go on and on, it’s like we get it, you want to get rid of her. That could have been cut just a bit. It was surprising that the show managed to end on a light note.