Holroyd on Shaw

Today’s Guardian contains an article by Michael Holroyd , relating Shaw’s St Joan to the Great War.

Holroyd sees T.E.Lawrence as one of the models for Joan, and of course Shaw would later paint a flattering portrait of Lawrence in Too True to be Good (1931).

The article is pegged to the new production of St Joan at the National Theatre, which has had very good reviews. I’ll try to get along to see it. If you go to http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/stjoan you can see an intriguing video trailer for the production. The cast includes not only the terrific Ann-Marie Duff (of Shameless on TV) but that excellent actor Paterson Joseph. I remember him as absolutely electrifying in Cheek by Jowl’s production of Sophocles’ Philoctetes many years ago. Since then I think I’ve mostly seen him doing bit parts in TV thrillers. The trailer also features a couple of lithe men playing leapfrog in slow motion. I don’t think they feature in Shaw’s original script.


  1. Posted July 15, 2007 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    St. Joan is also currently playing at the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada. I recently saw it and found it extremely interesting. The director split up the epilogue, starting part of it as a prologue and having Joan and the male characters come out of a WWI trench. For most of the play they were dressed in WWI battle uniforms although towards the end, some characters also showed up in modern army uniforms to emphasize the universality of some of Shaw’s themes.

  2. Posted July 20, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Does the Ontario production have a scene that actually shows Joan’s burning? The current National Theatre does, apparently, though Shaw in his preface was scathing about this sort of spectacle. Still, I must withhold judgement till I’ve seen it. I booked tickets yesterday, for early August.

  3. Posted July 21, 2007 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    No, the burning is all done off-stage and described by one of the characters. Do post about the National production when you’ve seen it.

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