Mother of the Maid
Closed 2h 10m
Mother of the Maid
79

Mother of the Maid NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(196 Reviews)
Positive
83%
Mixed
13%
Negative
4%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Disappointing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the Show

The Public Theater presents six-time Academy Award nominee and three-time Tony and Emmy winner Glenn Close in a drama about the mother of Joan of Arc. 

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Member Reviews (196)

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70
Strong acting, Well staged, Disappointing script, Colloquial language, Shifting tone

See it if you're a fan of Close or Joan Arc. GC emotes well, but inconsistent script. Strong acting fr ensemble. Accessible story of precocious child.

Don't see it if you want a focused, revelatory script. No point to retelling: nothing new! Shaw's SJ is much more philos/intellectual. Tone varies wildly. Read more

80
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Tragic, Heartfelt

See it if I enjoyed the mother’s perspective, w/Joan as a rebellious, cocky, possibly transgender, teenager. Witty dialog. Fun supporting characters

Don't see it if You don’t like historical fiction with some anachronisms. GC is great but the script is too sentimental when she is on stage by herself.

Critic Reviews (33)

The New York Times
October 17th, 2018

“Close’s performance...is a triumphant blend of sharp sense and passionate sensibility, of an old pro’s expertise and a newcomer’s enthusiasm...Ms. Anderson’s robustly sentimental play, a take on a saint-in-the-making from a parent’s perspective, provides an old-fashioned showcase for the kind of acting with a capital A that once had Broadway theatergoers queuing around the block...The supporting cast does well by Anderson’s conversational, expletive-laced dialogue.”
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Time Out New York
October 17th, 2018

“Anderson’s new play shifts the focus from Joan herself to Isabelle, the woman who raised her. Played by the always astonishing Close...At its core, this is a story every parent can identify with...We know that Joan’s terrible fate is sealed, but that doesn’t make the inevitable end any less heartbreaking: Close’s desperate efforts to bring her child home safe would bring tears to a statue’s eyes...Simple in structure but emotionally complex, it justifies raising Saint Joan from the dead yet again.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 17th, 2018

“Though its form and tone are more TV-ish than strikingly theatrical, ‘Mother of the Maid’ succeeds at a hard job: rehumanizing a myth...Anderson has threaded a tricky needle: She’s created a good human, not a perfect one but a really good one, and without an overabundance of sentimentality, she’s kept us interested in her...If anything disrupts 'Mother of the Maid’s' effective feel for very real domestic and social dynamics, it’s a theatrical rusticness in the actors’ approach to the language.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 17th, 2018

“A historical drama so clunky and tonally confused it sometimes plays like a SNL sketch in search of a punchline...Penn's handsomely appointed production has one affecting interlude close to the end...But elsewhere the play is dull, prosaic and blighted by misplaced comedy, while Van Patten's performance is generally far less effective...Close approaches all this with an integrity and seriousness that the play seldom earns.”
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Variety
October 17th, 2018

"It’s a tiresome road to that inevitable outcome...Dabbles in kitchen-sink drama, situation comedy, awkward mysticism and painfully self-serious memoir...The tone and approach zig and zag in conflicting directions, making it neither satisfying comedy nor drama...This is a play that allows Close to suffer, sacrifice, and fight for her child, and with her child...She’s a charismatic performer and it’s always a privilege to see her work up close...One wishes for a better vehicle for Close’s talent."
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Deadline
October 17th, 2018

“As a title character in Anderson’s eccentric and startlingly play, Close takes on history and wins...’Mother of the Maid’ reunites the actress, as good here as you’ve seen her, with Anderson and director Matthew Penn. The three play off one another to great effect – Close’s regal demeanor an ironic counterpoint to Penn’s stark staging and Anderson’s near-comic workaday dialogue...After all the stylized wisecracking and winking, Anderson’s tale hits, when it hits, hard.”
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AM New York
October 17th, 2018

“Anderson sticks to the traditional Joan of Arc story while attempting to imbue it with some originality, but the end result is rather underwhelming. Were it not for Close, I highly doubt the characteristically adventurous Public Theater would have produced the play...Under the direction of Penn, Close delivers the kind of dynamic performance you would expect from a star: grim and glowing, gentle and forceful, with close attention paid to the character’s emotional journey.”
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Theatermania
October 17th, 2018

“The fact that we know the end doesn't detract one iota from Anderson's thoughtful, thought-provoking, and timely play...Led by Close in a stellar performance...’Mother of the Maid’ now resonates more profoundly than it did at its world premiere...Penn confidently directs the play's dozen or so scenes with vigor and grace, aided by Anderson's smart revisions to the script, which she has tightened and polished...Top-notch acting also keeps the production consistently engaging.”
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BroadwayWorld
October 18th, 2018

“Somewhat quirky, often intriguing drama...As played by Close, Isabelle is a gritty, hearty woman...If the Arcs come off a bit like a medieval version of a contemporary celebrity family, that appears to be the intent of Anderson and Penn, as they mix the language and attitudes of the 15th and 21st Centuries...To see Joan as a daughter through the eyes of her mother is an angle that hasn't been tackled...making 'Mother of the Maid' a unique, and...an interesting and entertaining venture.”
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Lighting & Sound America
October 18th, 2018

“A thoroughly entertaining historical drama...Fortunately, there's a fully charged star at stage center...Close creates a character so indelible and incandescent that all eyes remain on her and not the world-historical character standing beside her...'Mother of the Maid' may seem at times to hail from another era, but thanks to its solid construction and plainspoken manner, it makes the best argument yet for the continuing relevance of Joan's story for today's audiences.”
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Talkin' Broadway
October 17th, 2018

“No one will ever love you like your mom, not even if you are a saint-in-training. That's the perspective playwright Jane Anderson brings to the Joan of Arc saga...with the indomitable Close giving a powerhouse performance in the title role...And even though we know how Joan's story must end, it is in watching Isabelle, in Glenn Close's towering, sometimes gut-wrenching performance, that we begin to understand the very human side to this oft-repeated tale."
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New York Stage Review
October 17th, 2018

“Close puts all emotive stops out...Close is entirely convincing as an illiterate woman fighting for her daughter’s destiny...’Mother of the Maid’ is a vehicle for Close, it also serves as that for Van Patten...Van Patten is outstanding...Anderson puts forth a Joan not previously seen often, or at all...The playwright unfolds a sturdy story marching steadily along but not soaring...As a result, her drama is commendably earnest but only intermittently enthralling.”
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New York Stage Review
October 17th, 2018

"I’m frankly hankering right about now for more stories in which the heroine takes action before, or rather than, being acted upon. 'Mother of the Maid,' the quietly piercing, luminous new play now running at the Public Theater, gives us two such characters, lifted from life—one an iconic figure, one fleshed out by playwright Jane Anderson’s vibrant imagination and astute take on historical and intergenerational dynamics."
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Theater News Online
October 18th, 2018

“Anderson’s play is not about the devout farm girl...It’s about her mom...There remains a rough-hewn, anachronistic quality to the dialogue that never lands as deliberate, but rather, annoys...They don’t bring us into the story so much as block us out. Isabelle’s narration has the same effect, and director Penn draws out his star’s actressy earnestness when less might have been more...The play’s best scene doesn’t involve Joan at all."
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CurtainUp
October 17th, 2018

"Anderson is too adept at finding ways to illuminate extraordinary aspects of ordinary women's lives. And so, the mother she's chosen to retell the Joan of Arc story has a grandness that resists dumbing down...Close is not just the box office magnet here, but magnificent. Her Isabelle is universal, time transcending woman...Van Patten's Joan is a Maid with whom it's easy to identify...Van Patten is at her best in the second act...Definitely a display of bravura acting you won't want to miss.”
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Front Row Center
October 18th, 2018

“Not only is the plot wanting, the writing is stiff and uneven. One minute it sounds vaguely 15th century and the next minute we are hearing phrases like, ‘check this out’, and, ‘I’ve got it covered’...In addition, the characters are not clearly defined. Close swings like a pendulum...She has no clear path in this play, and because she is the fulcrum, the play is out of balance. The result...is an altogether pedestrian production that cannot decide what it is or why.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
November 6th, 2018

"As Isabelle Arc, the Mother of the Maid, Close mesmerizes, forcing by pure majesty to make us pay attention to this simple non-majestic soul...The play’s a bit forced and casually written, somewhat similar to the much smarter and deeper 'Doll’s House, Part 2,' in the way it blends a modern flair of language with characters we know from theatrical history."
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Exeunt Magazine
October 18th, 2018

"Even coming from Close, this third-person narration is a little clumsy…After this clunkiness, the play recovers and soars to heavenly heights…The play deftly tackles class differences. Isabelle interacts with Nicole, a lady of the court…These scenes are much more effective than the predictable fights between Joan’s brother Pierre and her father…‘Mother of the Maid’ is a necessary play…It forces us to contemplate what other mothers of famed martyred figures we’re forgetting."
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Broadway Blog
October 29th, 2018

"Anderson's play, written in a slightly heightened vernacular blended, uncomfortably, with contemporary vulgarity and colloquialisms, is a stripped-down version of what happened, offering little insight into Joan's tragedy…It's a bravura performance but Close, even though she slightly coarsens her speech, never sheds her star aura enough to convince you she's this roughhewn, 15th-century peasant experiencing real, not theatrical, shocks and glories."
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C
October 17th, 2018

"The uneasy feeling that Anderson's script won't live up to Close's talents hits you immediately: nothing about the play makes you feel remotely as if you're in 15th-century France: Close speaks (mostly) in her now-signature quasi-regal tones, a surprisingly unimpressive Crowley, as her farmer husband Jacques, seems like he's wandered away from a Brian Friel play, and Van Patten's Joan sounds like every sullen American teenager."
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DC Theatre Scene
October 17th, 2018

“Anderson’s play, in a wonderfully acted production...is amusing, moving, incongruous, just plain odd and riveting. What may be most fascinating about it is that...the play is rooted in the historical record...What Anderson focuses on is not Joan’s stubborn virtue but Joan’s pain, and her family’s grief...If the world might not have been dying for yet another dramatization of the story of Joan of Arc, ‘Mother of the Maid’ at least has something fresh to show us.”
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Gotham Playgoer
October 17th, 2018

“As a showcase for the talents of the marvelous Glen Close, Anderson’s play is an unqualified success. Beyond that, its merits are less clear...The first act contains considerable humor, occasionally resembling a family sitcom. The second act darkens and offers powerful monologues...The actors are all fine, with Close more than fine...The direction is smooth. While I found the play a bit wobbly in its tone, I was grateful for the opportunity to see Ms. Close up close."
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The Wrap
October 17th, 2018

“In her absorbing new drama, Anderson again puts a behind-the-scenes woman where she belongs: center stage...Close gets to share the stage with the equally vivid Van Patten...Where Close is classic and very studied, Van Patten is modern...For over two hours...Close and Van Patten perform in entirely different universes, and do so brilliantly, but their final scene together finds them completely on the same page, bonded, and bathed in each other’s love.”
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
October 18th, 2018

"The play, directed by Matthew Penn with tight precision and intensified emphasis on key situations, goes where other dramas about Joan have not—emphasis on her family in relation to all that took place...It is Close who makes this her play...One walks away with deep feelings both for Joan, so effectively played by Van Patten, and for her hitherto overlooked mother, brought so amazingly to life and into our minds by the brilliance of Close’s acting and the perceptive writing by Anderson.”
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Towleroad
October 18th, 2018

“By assuming the perspective of Joan’s mother and grounding the story in more mundane realities, Anderson makes Joan’s journey seem all the more remarkable, though the most sensational moments take place off stage...Not surprisingly, Close has no trouble galvanizing the story around her character’s perspective with a striking performance. Five hundred years on, there’s little new to discover about Joan’s story but to see it as a human one.”
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T
October 17th, 2018

"Close powerfully plays the devoted mother of Joan of Arc...A witty and piercing play...This production is the most impressive and perceptive of the brace of underpar Joan of Arc-themed theatre pieces...Anderson perfectly melds the comedy and drama of making the historical and mythic domestic and earthy...’Mother of the Maid’ asks what it must have been like to have been related to Joan...Close plays Isabelle with a focused fierceness."
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T
November 15th, 2018

“An intimate and involving play...A moving, poignant mother-daughter drama; at its heart is the age-old story of a beloved child leaving the nest, only in this case on the wings of angels, and with a bit more at risk. Van Patten holds her own with Close...Most of the action occurs offstage, but the narrative never feels explanatory...A familiar historical tale told from a different perspective, breathing new life into an ever-beguiling warhorse, anchored by a pair of outstanding actors.”
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Newsday
October 17th, 2018

"The family at the center is one you’ll recognize. Last name: Arc...Anderson focuses here on her mother Isabelle (Close, in a heart-wrenching performance)...Under director Matthew Penn, the action moves seamlessly from the Arcs' humble farmhouse to the sumptuous palace of King Charles to a desolate prison cell. It's hard, though, to take your eyes off Close as she delivers an exquisite and honest display of emotional range...The final scene is a knife in the gut."
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What's On Stage (UK)
October 30th, 2018

"The play takes a long time to get going and – in its early stages at least – skirts dangerously close to Monty Python territory. What redeems it and pulls it – movingly – towards a climax which although always historically inevitable seems both shocking and avoidable, is Close's ability to register every fleck of thought and emotion while apparently doing very little."
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I
November 14th, 2018

“Anderson’s play tells the familiar story of Joan of Arc, but with a twist...Anderson has penned a sturdy play that effectively draws us in...Her semi-colloquial dialogue is refreshing in its directness...‘Mother of the Maid’ relies solely on its emotional wallop to make an impact, which it does...Close is majestic and passionately fervent...Van Patten gives a luminous, no-nonsense performance...The rest of the cast is top-notch...directed with lucidity and coherence by Penn.”
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The Clyde Fitch Report
October 17th, 2018

“As Isabelle Arc, Glenn Close is a no-nonsense, straight-talking, country woman...This is Isabelle’s story...And as a human tale of love, adoration and the costs of commitment and passion, it’s hardly a sorry one. It’s a story so human, it’s divine. Close is on stage for nearly every moment, rooting our focus and solemnly embracing the action...Close’s careful performance choices as the mother of a child who dreams of leading an army will break your heart.”
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Film Festival Traveler
October 24th, 2018

"A modest, unapologetically sentimental drama that has precious little that’s new to add, despite looking at Joan from a different angle...Anderson can’t resist some easy country bumpkin jokes, which quickly wear out their welcome...Glenn Close brings the tough-minded but soft-hearted woman to such powerful life you wish she’d been given a better vehicle for her talents."
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Philadelphia Inquirer
October 18th, 2018

“What a waste of a good idea...Working against the inherent drama of a heroic girl being burned at the stake is the broad...Close punches every line – too loud and too deliberate to sound like anybody speaking in her own house... Joan, Grace Van Patten seems neither holy nor teenage...Anderson’s script is as superficial as Penn’s direction; he encourages laugh lines and wooden speechmaking, so playwright and director seem well-matched. "
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