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Mother of the Maid

From 33 critic and 195 member reviews
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.  More…

"Mother of the Maid" tells the story of Joan of Arc’s mother (Glenn Close), a sensible, hard-working, God-fearing peasant woman whose faith is upended as she deals with the baffling journey of her odd and extraordinary daughter. Tackling this epic tale through an unexpected perspective, "Mother of the Maid" explores the glories and challenges of raising an exceptional child.

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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.” Full Review


“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.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

“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.” Full Review

The New York Times

“Close’s 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.” Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

“Anderson’s play, in a wonderfully acted 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.” Full Review


"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.” Full Review

The Wrap

“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.” Full Review

Tim Teeman

"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." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

“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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“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.” Full Review


“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, interesting and entertaining venture.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

“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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“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 ... Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“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 an altogether pedestrian production that cannot decide what it is or why.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“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.” Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

"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." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"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." Full Review

New York Stage Review

“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.” Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if You want to see Glenn Close at the top of her game!

Don't see it if You aren’t into historical theatre!

Also Between this performance and her work in THE WIFE, 2018 is quite a yea... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You love superb acting, well constructed drama, and want your heart strings pulled

Don't see it if If you dont love serious theater

Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Want to see Glenn Close triumph Appreciate great theater Want to be moved

Don't see it if There is no reason to miss it

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Must see

See it if Glen Close is reason enough.The play is riveting.

Don't see it if If you don’t like excellent theater

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful

See it if You appreciate really great, moving acting; brilliant, thought-provoking writing; original and insightful, compassionate perspective.

Don't see it if If you don't want to be emotionally engaged

Glenn close is luminous, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing

See it if you want to see a great actress at the top of her game.Close is perfection.Story is fascinating & compelling.It never lost my interest.

Don't see it if you want something frothy.This makes you look at Joan D'Arc from a different angle.Acting is uniformly very good with Close being a knockout

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Must see

See it if you enjoy period historic dramas with a small cast especially if you want to see Glenn Close in a compelling role.

Don't see it if you do not like historic dramas especially with religious elements .

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Riveting

See it if Great acting by the entire cast in an absorbing take on the mother and family of Joan of Arc

Don't see it if if you want a historical drama that does not have any humanity

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Riveting, Must see

See it if Glenn Close is fabulous-to see her in a small theater is exceptional. A great artist who embodies the character without flaw. Fantastic!

Don't see it if You dislike dark shows. You like big productions. You like big theaters. You like fluff and fantasy.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Refreshing

See it if you want to see a unique perspective on Joan of Arc; you want to see stellar performances; seeing Glenn Glose on stage is important to you

Don't see it if you don't want a heavy drama that might move too slowly for you; you don't want to see Joan of Arc as a family member

Great acting, Masterful, Entertaining, Must see

See it if you: want to see one of our great actresses in a great role in a small venue; like historical dramas; like a show that has a lot of dialogue

Don't see it if you: require a lot of action to be entertained.

Also Was thrilled to be in the front row habing the actors so close to me. ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful

See it if Want to see Joan of Arc in a new configuration. TWO towering performances—Glenn Close and Grace Van Patten. They dominate the stage.

Don't see it if You don’t care about Joan of Arc, don’t like small theaters, or Glenn Close. This was far superior to the recent Broadway St. Joan.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Masterful, Profound

See it if A signature role for the brilliant Glenn Close. The family of Joan is explored with a contemporary twist.A must see!

Don't see it if Do not see if you do not like historical dramas.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Glenn Close is riveting. Great staging. A new angle on an old story.

Don't see it if Looking for the conventional Joan story.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Masterful

See it if You are looking for a sensitive portrayal of a familiar legend. Beautifully acted and written.

Don't see it if You have no interest in history and family and wonderful acting

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if Love Glenn Close and history

Don't see it if don't like serious theater

Great acting, Emotional, Absorbing

See it if You are a fan of Glenn Close’s acting and enjoy a great play

Don't see it if You expect a strong storyline

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you want to see a fresh take on a familiar story. Glenn Close is masterful & Grace Van Patten might be my favorite Joan i've seen.

Don't see it if You're looking for a happy story. This is about the mother of Joan of Arc. It ends the same way. Bring tissues.

Great acting, Intense, Intelligent

See it if You want to witness up close a tour de force performance by Glenn Close.

Don't see it if You don't like historical drama.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Intelligent, Glenn close is extraordinary

See it if You were in awe of Glenn Close's performance in anything, but more recently in "The Wife." She is extraordinary.

Don't see it if You don't like period pieces or intimate theater.

Great acting, Great writing, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if You have never seen Glenn Close on stage. Well-cast, nicely written play that goes straight to the heart of the mother/daughter dynamic.

Don't see it if ...can’t think of reason not to see. The story is interesting and the play’s pace is good.

Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Absorbing

See it if you like vehicles for great acting. Cast is superb and the story is refreshingly modern despite being about Joan of Arc.

Don't see it if you don't like period pieces.

Riveting and intense acting, especially glenn close

See it if you love astonishing acting. Even if you are tired of Joan of Arc shows, this is told from a mother's point of raising a "different" child.

Don't see it if you are not open to seeing yet another Joan of Arc show or if Glenn Close isn't in the show. Also, the second act is far superior .

Also While the first act is good, the show truly comes alive in the second.... Read more Read less

Intense, Intelligent, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Glenn Close is absorbing as the mother of Joan of Arc. The play is from the mother's perspective. Well done, excellent performance.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy historical period pieces or strong women.

Resonant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if only to see Glenn Close as the mother of Joan of Arc. Astounding commitment and nuance. Well directed. Father also good. Joan, so-so.

Don't see it if you like good drama or wonderful acting. You will be disappointed. It is fantastic.

Cast & Creatives (16)