by Paula Citron
Director Jackie Maxwell’s production of “Saint Joan”, which opened the 2007 Shaw Festival, is profoundly moving and thought-provoking. She has managed to capture both the wit and wisdom of the playwright while highlighting the emotional undercurrents that bind the characters together. One listens carefully to Shaw’s barrage of ideas, but one is also deeply affected by the power of the production.
The director has concentrated on language. One feels that she and her cast have parsed every word, and although the actors negotiate Shaw’s dense verbiage with ease, they also accent, emphasize and stress key phrases. They may have mastered the difficulties of making Shaw sound conversational, but they are also acutely aware of making their points through carefully and deliberately placed nuance.
In Tara Rosling, Maxwell has the Saint Joan of perfection to anchor her vision. The great Shaw acting ensemble is also in force doing what they do best.
Saint Joan continues until Oct. 27.
From the Shaw Festival Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.