"Saint Joan" by George Bernard Shaw
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Saint Joan is a play by George Bernard Shaw, based on the life and trial of Joan of Arc. Published not long after the canonization of Joan of Arc by the Roman Catholic Church, the play dramatises what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial. Shaw studied the transcripts and decided that the concerned people acted in good faith according to their beliefs. He wrote in his preface to the play: "There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us." Michael Holroyd has characterised the play as "a tragedy without villains" and also as Shaw's "only tragedy". John Fielden has discussed further the appropriateness of characterising Saint Joan as a tragedy.

Synopsis

PART ONE

Scene 1: The Castle of Vaucouleurs - Occupied Territory - 1429 AD
Scene 2: The Dauphin's Court at Chinon - Unoccupied Territory - March 8, 1429
Scene 3: Bank of the River Loire near Orleans - April 29, 1429
Scene 4: Earl of Warwick's Tent in the English Camp
Scene 5: Rheims Cathedral - July 17, 1429

PART TWO

Scene 6: The Great Hall - Rouen - May 30, 1431
Epilogue: June 1456

Characters

(In order of speaking)

  • Robert de Baudricourt
  • Steward
  • Joan
  • Bertrand de Poulengey
  • Archbishop of Rheims
  • La TrĂ©mouille
  • Court Page
  • Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard)
  • Captain La Hire
  • The Dauphin (later, Charles VII)
  • Duchesse de la TrĂ©mouille
  • Dunois, Bastard of Orleans
  • Dunois' Page
  • Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick
  • Chaplain de Stogumber
  • Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais
  • Warwick's Page
  • The Inquisitor
  • D'Estivet
  • De Courcelles
  • Brother Martin Ladvenu
  • Executioner
  • English Soldier
  • Delegate from Rome

Production History

Date Venue Company
Jan 1, 1993 Lyceum Theatre National Actors Theatre
Dec 15, 1977 Circle in the Square Theatre Circle in the Square
Jan 4, 1968 Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Mar 20, 1962 New York City Center
Dec 25, 1956 Coronet Theatre
Sep 11, 1956 Phoenix Theatre
Jan 7, 1952 New Century Theatre
Oct 4, 1951 Cort Theatre
Mar 9, 1936 Martin Beck Theatre
Dec 28, 1923 Garrick Theatre
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