Sunday, November 07, 2010

Saint Joan

In the Queens Players' new production, Shelleen Kostabi approaches the role of the Maid of Orléans with an admirable balance of holy righteousness and teenage vulnerability. Surrounded by an excellent cast who, in some cases, have created outsize performances that would be more fitting for a larger theater, she gives a nuanced and generous performance. Despite that mismatch, it is a most rewarding production; it's rare in an Off Off Broadway house to see a cast this large with no major weak links, doing a play this strenuous, with perfect pacing and complete professionalism.

The great thing about art is that it stays with us long after its creators are gone. Through the great characters of Saint Joan—among them the Inquisitor, the warrior Dunois (the Bastard of Orléans), and above all the Maid herself—George Bernard Shaw, like a time-hopping Dr. Who, speaks through the centuries backwards and forwards about nationalism, church and state, the place of women, and so on, all issues that continue to galvanize cultures around the world.

Excerpted from Theater Review (NYC): Saint Joan on Blogcritics.

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