"Everybody in this play thinks they’re doing the right thing," says Eric Tucker, director of Bedlam Theatre Company's production of Saint Joan, on its way to Houston. "The people who are in those positions, they think they make sense. There are no bad guys."
But, of course, there are bad outcomes, at least for the character in the title role.
It’s the oft-told story of Joan of Arc, the peasant girl with visions that got her into trouble with the Roman Catholic Church and earned her death at the stake.
George Bernard Shaw’s 1923 play is not done onstage as much these days, but a New York City-based revival production by Bedlam Theatre Company caught the eye of Stark Naked Theatre Company co-founders Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin-Lehl, who decided to bring it to Houston.
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“It’s very simple. We don’t get in the way. It’s very stripped down. The play really focuses on the text and the story. We keep it moving and you really hear the text and the words. It’s so beautifully written,” says director Tucker (named 2014 Director of the Year by The Wall Street Journal).
Tucker says Shaw’s works, like Shakespeare’s, last because his characters are both flawed and compelling. “Joan herself is such an amazing character. She’s infuriating but she’s brilliant. She’s inspiring but she can be petulant and childish and then turn around and lead the horses into battle. As an actor, you don’t have to fill in any blanks; it’s all there for you.”
Be aware that the production breaks the fourth wall and engages the audience. But nothing embarrassing, Tucker promises.
Performances are scheduled for June 2-18 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and June 13 (pay-what-you-can); 3 p.m. Sundays. June 8-18. Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit starknakedtheatre.com. $15 to $49.