Riot Grrrl of the Middle Ages

November 3, 2014

 

"We live in a culture where individuals feel they don't have agency, and here is a single person who made an enormous impact," Kim Collier says of Joan of Arc, pointing out the martyr roused thousands to follow her.

George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan is Collier's latest production. After last year's bravura modern-day production of Hamlet at Bard on the Beach, the director – renowned for her own troupe, the Electric Company – says she will be sticking to the original 15th-century setting for this piece. "This is a play so specific to its time, to its history and date."

The challenge was to present the Maid of Orléans to a modern audience used to equating religiously motivated conflict with terrorism. "There is a contradiction," Collier agrees. "She fought in the name of God – but not from ideology; from her own deep moral clarity. We have to reach beyond that, look for our blind spots, ask, What is a truly humanist mission? Is Joan really a liberator?"

Then there's Collier's lead: Meg Roe. The two women decided to do the project together from the outset. "Joan's power lay in her magnetic personality, her charisma and intelligence," notes the director. "That is Meg Roe: unstoppable and indomitable." Artsclub.com

Saint Joan, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. To November 23.

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