Manhattan Theatre Club brings George Bernard Shaw's take on the story of Joan of Arc to Broadway in a new production starring three-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad. More…
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. Directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan.
“'Saint Joan' is getting a sterling revival in this production illuminatingly directed by Daniel Sullivan....Rashad’s Joan is impressive indeed...Rashad handles Shaw’s dialogue with utmost clarity and meaning...Rashad touches our hearts...The production is filled with worthy performances...Most importantly, I came away hoping that Rashad receives the proper recognition due for her scaling the dramatic heights inherent in Shaw’s work with a profound and moving acting achievement.” Full Review
"After 'Ruined' and then last year's 'A Doll's House, Part 2,' Condola Rashad is fast establishing herself as one of our finest young actresses. She is presently back on Broadway, offering a steely and, shall we say, saintly performance as the title character in George Bernard Shaw's 'Saint Joan' at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre." Full Review
"The wrenching, tour-de-force performance given by Condola Rashad...Sullivan’s 'Saint Joan' is an intensely chilling production...The overall effect is one of some holy, medieval theatrical experience pulsing with the divinity and the sacrament of the moment...Theater-goers of Sullivan’s new production, cradled by an extraordinary group of actors, will be hard-pressed to keep themselves from pitching their bodies inevitably toward the stage, bewitched by this daring new revival." Full Review
"A majestic revival...Rashad is at times powerful, at other times sad and sometimes very, very funny...She makes the play the big hit that it is...Sullivan has done a superb job of coordinating different aspects of the play and, carefully, carries the story from scene to scene and addresses her trial with great bravura...Saint Joan is a beloved historic figure and Rashad, as the maid of Orleans, is nothing short of sensational in this remarkably well-told story of France’s historic treasure." Full Review
"What a joy it is to watch a superb production of a Shaw play...Rashad radiates in a performance that has us enthralled from beginning to end. And this is no easy task since she is surrounded by a marvelous, venerated group of actors...The result is some of the finest character acting around. Sullivan’s direction is lively, wringing every joke from the text, and making the most of both farcical and dramatic moments...I love being awash in Shaw's compelling, witty, and elegant words." Full Review
"Very fine production of 'Saint Joan'...There's also a fresher relevance to this production in that the title character, played with wonderful conviction and realistic earnestness by Condola Rashad, is a teenager who gains public acceptance as the leader of a national political movement...Rashad's invigorating performance ensures that Joan's passions are motivated by selflessness and love." Full Review
"The cast addresses Shaw’s concerns and themes with welcomed rigor. Some might find the length of the monologues to be challenging; however, each of these is filled with interesting historical detail that adds to the understanding of the importance of Joan of Arc and her contemporaries...The journey from soldier to prisoner to saint is beatified by Rashad’s authentic performance. The entire cast supports that remarkable transformation with consummate skill and grace." Full Review
"Smart, stylish, and engaging...Rashad steps into the starring role in a blaze of glory and claims it as her own...Shaw never goes for the didactic slam-dunk, even when the angels are on his side. Instead he revels in the complexity of issues, motives and agendas in a dialectic that’s weighty even as it crackles with wit...In a handsome production, Sullivan deftly directs his first-class, deep-bench cast with subtle shadings of doubt and wonder." Full Review
"From the minute Rashad enters the stage, you feel warmth for the peasant girl faithfully following the celestial voices of her head...On one hand, she is one of the most legendary warriors of all time, but, on the other, she seems stubborn and insane, but Sullivan’s direction shows that she could be both...You feel engulfed by the performers and the golden, scenic design of Scott Pask." Full Review
"Rashad is a deeply engaging Joan; her elegant rendering of this difficult young woman is made especially notable by her eloquent and graceful hands...As a warrior she swaggers, but she can also be adorably girlish and naïve...The wittiness of the language as well as the wittiness of the performances reveal that irresistible Shavian charm as well as his genius for provocative argument...Under Sullivan’s profound as well as clever direction, the focus remains sharply and clearly on the debate." Full Review
"Rashad is, simply, a brilliant actor. In addition to her talents, MTC has assembled a cast with chemistry and expert craftsmanship under the direction of Daniel Sullivan. When the weak link is George Bernard Shaw’s rather long script, you have the makings of theatre at its best...There is a bit of madness in Rashad’s portrayal...The cast supporting her is exceedingly well chosen...Still, the script does get lost on its way to the end." Full Review
"Theatergoers hankering for plays that deal extravagantly in issues and language know they’ll find it in anything and everything written by the tireless Shaw...You like his characters exchanging pithy observations? You’re guaranteed a hearty time under director Dan Sullivan’s rule...While Rashad ebulliently fills the title role, there are stretches when Joan disappears and the men are handed stern, sometimes surprisingly humorous, lines." Full Review
"A quieter interpretation than most and asks us to pay attention...This production, directed with intelligence and a great respect for Shaw's words by Sullivan, brings out the complexity of the story, so that we see Joan as a pawn as well as a torch-bearer. Rashad's applause-garnering defiance makes us think about who Joan is as a person...Rashad brings an honest naturalism to her performance...It is good to see a thoughtful production that allows Shaw to speak for himself." Full Review
"Rashad’s performance—tender, resolute, and deeply human—presents us with something we’ve become sadly unaccustomed to in reality: a leader whose strength is rooted in humility. Director Daniel Sullivan manages to capture the timelessness and the topicality of Shaw’s play without straining to emphasize the latter...Sullivan trusts the text and a superb company to show us how relevant the playwright’s progressive humanism is right now." Full Review
"Directed by Sullivan with his usual discipline and featuring a impressive cast...Rashad convincingly portrays Joan as human...This is a work filled with complex, difficult characters, a challenge from which Sullivan, Rashad, and the rest of the cast do not shy away. Often, we look to see such complexity resolved. The satisfaction of MTC's 'Saint Joan' comes from its refusal to do so, forcing us instead to embrace and grapple with its ambiguity." Full Review
"Rashad does solid, thoughtful work. I’ve seen far too many bad puns about fire in reviews of 'Saint Joan,' so believe me when I say I mean no such thing when I tell you Rashad gives her a slow steady burn. She is aided by a superb supporting cast, particularly Patrick Page as a terrifyingly calm and methodical Inquisitor, and John Glover as an archbishop as politically cunning and he is theologically astute." Full Review
"A capable but somewhat uninspiring cast, from which Patrick Page, however, stands out...Capable but somewhat uninspiring is a description that, regrettably, must be extended to much of the first act of this production...While Ms. Rashad’s Joan of Arc mesmerizes in the superbly staged, climactic scene of her trial, her reticence in fully embracing The Maid’s larger-than-life personality felt somewhat of a missed opportunity for the first half of the play." Full Review
"Sullivan finds the rhythmic humor in Shaw’s writing and allows it to surface when it is most needed and appreciated...Naturally, the actor cast in the role of Joan needs to carry the show, and Rashad is truly captivating. She delivers a majestic and powerful performance...The final scene of Shaw’s play takes place twenty-five years after Joan’s death...This is Shaw’s finest scene of the play. It offers a chance for the audience to reflect on the historic and religious accounts in his writing." Full Review
"Mighty and surefooted cast supporting a solid performance by Condola Rashad...Though a tad overlong — Scene 4 gets terribly tedious before intermission begins — Shaw’s play is still as riveting as I’m sure it was when it first premiered in 1923. He successfully tells a war story without any battles, and he challenges the authority of government and religious establishment through a female protagonist that may or may not be crazy...Rashad is exceptional as Joan." Full Review
"Within all this temporal weirdness, there’s an undeniably compelling core...Rashad’s Joan, glowing, ebullient, and with unlikely shades of heartwarming goofiness about her, is an easy heroine to champion. Without Rashad, in fact, it’s difficult to imagine this odd play hanging together...Often the only woman onstage, sparring with or defending herself against circles of doubting or condemning men, her sprightliness can be downright inspirational." Full Review
“The revival’s willingness to dwell in ambiguity and accept each side’s conviction that they’re doing what’s right makes it both uncomfortable and undeniably compelling...Rashad is a revelation in the title role...Deeply human...Even absent a clear vision, Shaw’s words are largely capable of speaking for themselves...And Rashad and Page in particular are more than capable of breathing new life into them.” Full Review
"Other than a few projections depicting battle, this is a talkfest, very simply staged...The talk, however, is engaging, and Rashad gives a bright, quicksilver performance, setting into motion powerful forces that ultimately consume her, not without a fight...Shaw couldn’t leave his characters to their fate, so he contrived a bittersweet epilogue that brings some of them together on the celestial plane...It brings 'Saint Joan' to a satisfyingly stimulating close." Full Review
"Rashad shows a mien of assurance, naïveté and finally outrage during her interrogators' questioning. It is a challenging role and Rashad's Joan is skillful but lacks a indefinable mysticism. Shaw's play runs almost three hours of talky tedium and segments of provocative ambiguity, a play that might be best read on a rainy afternoon and then debated in an Irish bar." Full Review
"A straightforward, generally effective production...The play moves slowly and has some dry points. But more often than not, Shaw’s analytical vigor keeps the audience’s attention. It makes you long for the kind of robust political discourse that has gone missing today...Rashad has a secure grasp on Shaw’s rhetoric and presents Joan as unfazed and resolute. She is joined by a strong, all-male supporting cast." Full Review
"Rashad pulls 'Saint Joan' into this century with a performance that is both ironic and wide-eyed. That wonderful contradiction, between being informed and foolish, galvanizes the production, and makes her irresistible to watch...Nothing is ever commonplace when Patrick Page is on stage...When Page reappears much later as the Inquisitor himself, it’s impossible to get his Robert out of your head...Regardless, the actor delivers the play’s standout moment." Full Review
See it if You love Shaw, you enjoy plays about ideas, you favor script over staging
Don't see it if you're looking for a lot of plot to move the story along, you don't like minimalist staging
See it if This Shaw play has not lost its punch and stands on its own today. C. Rashad is brilliant as Joan and the ensemble cast is outstanding.
Don't see it if you are not into three hour plays that are intense and wordy.
See it if You like big but tasteful Broadway productions. If you like Bernard Shaw. If you like deep themes.
Don't see it if you are into musical and comedies, can't stand long thoughtful monologues
See it if you seek terrific writing and acting in service of exploration of religion, political power & militarism, with insight into sexual politics
Don't see it if you seek pizzazz, glamor, and trendy treatments or subjects; or if even a light treatment of Catholicism's 15th C. horrors would upset you.
See it if ...you enjoy a star-studded and powerful cast, minimalistic staging, and a different take on Joan of Arc.
Don't see it if ...you seek spectacle, tire of legal arguments, or can't focus on a wordy play.
See it if Incredible acting revolving around a fascinating historical story. A surprisingly snappy script which may go over the heads of some
Don't see it if You don’t like period pieces or large ensemble casts
See it if You want a great lesson about the 100 yrs war and the consolidation of france
Don't see it if You don't like elevated clever dialogue and sharp satire. Also an eye-opening history of the evil done by the Catholic church.
See it if You’d like to see a world-class actress (alongside an entire cast of immense talents) in a rhetoric-heavy history play
Don't see it if You’re not up for three hours of talking, talking, talking. There’s lots of killing going on in this play, but it all happens between scenes
See it if like an intelligent rendition of Joan or Arc. It is long, with many words with a truly caliber Tony Award Nominee and possible Tony Award.
Don't see it if If you do not like long movies that have quite a bit of intelligent and clever talking.
See it if you're interested in Joan of Arc and the interplay between everyone vs the powerful church. Rashad & cast are glorious. Interesting epilogue
Don't see it if you are interested in complex sets/a strictly fact based telling of Joan. This play takes liberties and adds much humor to the telling.
See it if You love Shaw and want to see a large, exquisite ensemble performing one of the great, timeless plays in Shaw's oeuvre.
Don't see it if You don't like longish, intellectual plays with a lot of words between the explosive /climactic scenes. This is an idea/word play.
See it if You love Shaw or just want to see a really great play done extremely well. Excellent production of a masterwork.
Don't see it if You're in the mood for something frivolous.
Also I don't get the negative reviews. This is really solid.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies