New in 2018 A revival of George Bernard Shaw's classic play that recounts the story of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who claimed to hear the voices of saints directing her to help the Dauphin of France drive the English out of the country.
From the producers: Set in 15th century France, "Saint Joan" follows a country girl whose mysterious visions propel her into elite circles. When the nation’s rulers become threatened by her popularity and influence, they unite to bring her down and she finds herself on trial for her life. This timeless and powerful play dramatizes the limits of an individual in a society dominated by overwhelming political and religious forces.
George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan," about 15th century French military figure Joan of Arc. premiered in in 1923, three years after her canonization by the Roman Catholic Church. The play dramatizes what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial. The play was last seen on Broadway in 1993 starring Maryann Plunkett as Joan. The production was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Revival. 'Saint Joan" was adapted twice for the big screen - first in 1927 and again in 1957 starring Jean Seberg and John Gielgud.
Heading the cast as the famous heroine is Condola Rashad, fresh off her Tony-nominated performance in "A Doll’s House, Part 2." Tony winner Daniel Sullivan ("Proof," "The Heidi Chronicles") directs.
What's Manhattan Theatre Club? One of three not-for-profit organizations that produce a season on Broadway each year, MTC also has two smaller stages at City Center, where they produce mostly modern plays (and sometimes musicals) in a fairly conventional style. More here.
Director Sullivan [manages] to inject the uneven production with a few moments of levity. Rashad makes an intriguing Joan...[she] portrays the teen with a brave mix of doubt, humility and fierce independence. Sadly, when Rashad is not on stage, the piece tends to go flat, despite [some] strong performances. Shaw ended the show with an epilogue...Sullivan turns it into something of a bedroom farce. An appropriate end for a play about a revered saint? Maybe not, but at least Sullivan won't get tried for heresy.
The 1923 vintage of Shaw's play hardly shows its age in the loose, slightly winky direction of Sullivan. But color-blind casting and the occasional 20th-century colloquialism feel mostly like modern window-dressing on [the] story. And the drawing-room comedy bits don't do much to build a real emotional investment in Joan or her cause. As the second act pivots to grim courtroom drama, Rashad's girlishness begins to grow into the holy passion and fervor audiences expect from her.