Arts, Dining & Entertainment
January 17, 2018

Catch the power and strength of a modern day Joan of Arc in National Theatre’s “Saint Joan”

Catch the power and strength of a modern day Joan of Arc in National Theatre’s “Saint Joan”

Saturday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m.—RUTLAND—The fourth screening of the Live in HD from the National Theatre series will be an encore broadcast of the Donmar Warehouse/National Theatre production of “Saint Joan” on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. on the big screen at Paramount Theatre.

Celebrated actress Gemma Arterton takes on the iconic role of Joan of Arc from the late- Victorian titan, playwright and philosopher, George Bernard Shaw, in his classic play, “Saint Joan.” Directed by Josie Rourke, this production unites the production team that brought the National Theatre “Coriolanus”and “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and uses the text in a modern day boardroom setting that shows Joan as a strong young woman breaking down glass barriers and the glass ceiling.

From the torment of the Hundred Year’s War, the charismatic Joan of Arc carved a victory that defined France and defied the law and the church. Described by Shaw as“A chronicle play in six scenes, with an epilogue,” Joan is a peasant girl who claims to experience visions of Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine and the archangel Michael which she attests were sent to her to by God to guide her conduct. She rises, through guile and pluck (having charmed both the Dauphin and a field general) to be a great warrior and a leader of soldiers. In her attempt to drive Britain from France, Joan scores military victory after victory, drawing the suspicions of the state and the church. It was believed that her “visions” branded her a witch and further, if unchecked, would undermine the law of the church’s universal rule. In one of the most famous scenes in dramatic literature, she is tried by the Inquisition as a heretic.

Bernard Shaw’s play depicts a woman with all the instinct, zeal and transformative power of a revolutionary.

Joan is depicted by the National Theatre as a daughter, farm girl, visionary, patriot, king-whisperer, soldier, leader, victor, icon, radical, witch, heretic, saint, martyr and woman.

The play premiered in 1923, three years after her canonization, and has subsequently had  numerous international revivals of acclaim. Described as one of the most challenging female roles in history, Joan has been played by many of the greatest actresses of their day, including:

Sybil Thorndike, Katherine Cornell, Wendy Hiller, Uta Hagen, Siobhan McKenna, Joan Plowright, Jean Seberg and Lynn Redgrave.

The Evening Standard said, “Josie Rourke’s production shows that Shaw’s observations about class, religion and gender are still relevant.”

“Gemma Arterton is radiantly persuasive in this richly rewarding revival … Highly recommended,” said the Independent.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Visit paramountvt.org for tickets and more information. Paramount Theatre is located at 30 Center St., Rutland.

Photo by Jack Sain
Gemma Arterton performs in the Inquisition scene from “Saint Joan,” screening Saturday at Paramount.

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