Joan of Lorraine: A Play in Two Acts

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Dramatists Play Service Inc, 1947 - Drama - 138 pages
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Most persons are familiar with the story of Joan of Arc, so it is necessary only to say that this is a play within a play, the outer play (as it were) showing a group of actors in rehearsal on a bare stage, preparing to produce a Joan of Arc play. The story of Joan's visions and pilgrimage to court, her restoring faith to the French and the victory she wins, are beautifully dramatized. But Anderson has woven into the Joan story a parallel action, which takes place outside the Joan play proper, in which he shows the meaning of faith today and the necessity of believing in something. The actress who plays Joan claims that the role should show her never compromising her ideals, and she is ready to leave the cast because she thinks the part and the direction of herself shows Joan doing just that. But she learns, from her director and fellow players, that life is a series of compromises, and that she herself, as an actress, like the historical Joan, can and should give in on small things in order to achieve the greatest good in a larger sense. In acting her part through to the end, she learns the lesson that Joan taught the world, of great faith and idealism, tempered by reality and the acceptance of the necessary limitations which are in all of us.
  

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Review: Joan of Lorraine

User Review  - Cynthia Egbert - Goodreads

Of all the plays written about Joan of Arc. This is my favorite! Read full review

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About the author (1947)

After some years as a teacher and a journalist, Maxwell Anderson turned to drama in 1923, achieving his first success with What Price Glory? in 1924, a World War I comedy cowritten with Laurence Stallings. During his long and successful career as a dramatist, Anderson produced historical dramas, patriotic plays, musicals, fantasies, and a thriller. Perhaps his best piece is Winterset (1935), a play Inspired by the Sacco and Vanzetti case. Anderson's first play was a verse drama. Beginning with Elizabeth the Queen (1940), his most famous historical drama, he employed for many years an irregular blank verse, typical of his attempt to bring high seriousness to the Broadway stage. Critics have not been enthusiastic about Anderson's work, and his plays are seldom revived today, but in his heyday-especially the 1930s-his plays repeatedly succeeded in the commercial theater. Anderson won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for Both Your Houses (1933) and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Winterset (1935) and High Tor (1937).

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