The LivingMaronite team attended the production of George Bernard Shaw’s classic which is currently being staged by the Sydney Theatre Company. The play is about the iconic Saint Joan of Arc whose story takes place in France during an attack by the English for the French throne. From the age of thirteen, Joan had visions and heard the voices of St Michael the Archangel and the martyrs, St Catherine of Alexandria and St Margaret of Antioch. Joan would ultimately suffer martyrdom, not for renouncing her Christianity, but denying she was a heretic. The voices Joan heard had told her from a young age that she would lead an army to drive out the English and bring Dauphin to Reims for his coronation.
In the typical Bernard-Shaw way, this is not a play about the historical events of the Franco-English war. This is a political and religious critique of a young girl who from a young age was ridiculed for hearing voices from God and thinking she could lead an army better than any general. She was being demonised not only by the society around her, but from within the Church itself. She became the victim of men in power whose motivations had become clouded by pride and greed and she paid the ultimate price.
It is Joan’s trial which takes centre stage in this play. Church and government officials surround her, and she is driven to doubt her visions and becomes convinced that the voices she heard have come from evil and not from saints. The play is an explores how evil and manipulation can sometimes come from the places we expect it least.
The Sydney Theatre production is wonderful, and Sarah Snook is excellent as Joan. The direction and creativity is amazing. We encourage you to go see it while it is still showing.
Theresa Simon and Christina Maksisi