Over the centuries, many playwrights have written interpretations of the story of Joan of Arc, each writer using the 15th-century French heroine as a framework for his own philosophies. These include Friedrich von Schiller, Maxwell Anderson, Bertolt Brecht and Jean Anouilh. Even William Shakespeare included her as a character in "Henry VI, Part I," treating her with a contempt typical of the British.
George Bernard Shaw chimed in in 1923, two years after Joan's canonization as a saint. Shaw expressed both skepticism of Joan's voices and reverence for her goodness, as well as disdain for her persecutors, "as honest a lot of poor fools as ever burned their betters."
National Theatre Live, which presents in-theater simulcasts of London stage productions, will present Shaw's "Saint Joan" starting this week in theaters around the world, including five in Connecticut. Gemma Arterton takes on the role of the Maid of Orleans in Josie Rourke's adaptation, which is set in the modern day.
The 165-minute production will be shown live from Covent Garden's Donmar Warehouse on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. at Cinestudio, 300 Summit St., on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford; Mystic Luxury Cinemas, 27 Coogan Blvd.; and Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge.
An "encore" (recorded) version will be shown Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. at Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St. in Old Saybrook; Sunday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. at Cinestudio; Wednesday, March 1, at 11 a.m. at Mystic Luxury Cinemas; and Monday, March 6, at 1 and 7 p.m. at Quick Center at Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield. Tickets: cinestudio.org, mysticluxurycinemas.com, ridgefieldplayhouse.org, thekate.org, quickcenter.fairfield.edu.