Shakespeare for Everyone


by George Bernard Shaw • directed by Deborah Wright Houston • April 29, 2001
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While recording the events of 10-20 May 1429, including the lifting of the siege of Orléans, the clerk of the Parliament of Paris drew a sketch of Joan in the margin, based on what he imagined her to look like.

Joan the
Original and Presumptuous

Joan of Arc, a village girl from the Vosges, was born about 1412; burnt for heresy, witchcraft, and sorcery in 1431; rehabilitated after a fashion in 1456; designated Venerable in 1904; declared Blessed in 1908; and finally canonized in 1920. She was one of the first apostles of Nationalism, and the first French practitioner of Napoleonic realism in warfare as distinguished from the sporting ransom-gambling chivalry of her time. She was the pioneer of rational dressing for women, refusing to accept the specific woman’s lot, and dressed and fought and lived as men did.

She was famous throughout Western Europe before she was out her teens (indeed she never got out of them). She was judicially burnt, ostensibly for a number of capital crimes which we no longer punish as such, but essentially for what we call unwomanly and insufferable presumption. She patronized her own king, and summoned the English king to repentance and obedience to her commands. She lectured, talked down, and overruled statesmen and prelates. She pooh-poohed the plans of generals, leading their troops to victory on plans of her own. She had an unbounded and quite unconcealed contempt for official opinion, judgment, and authority. Had she been a sage and monarch in whom the most venerable hierarchy and the most illustrious dynasty converged, her pretensions and proceedings would have been as trying to the official mind as the pretensions of Caesar were to Cassius. As her actual condition was pure upstart, there were only two opinions about her. One was that she was miraculous: the other that she was unbearable.

GBS, Ayot St. Lawrence, May 1924


Musée Jeanne d'Arc
Rouen, France



Sidney Fortner

Robert De Baudricourt

Timothy Joseph Ryan*


Montserrat N. Mendez


Sabrina Yocono

Betrand de Poulengey

Joey Ryan

Servants Lucie Chin
Joseph Hamel
Archbishop of Rheims Burke Pearson*
La Trémouille Jon Fordham
Court Page Will T. Hamlin
Gilles de Rais Frank Smith
Captain La Hire Leo Bertelsen
The Dauphin Joseph Small*
Duchesse de la Trémouille Sidney Fortner
Dunois Andrew Stewart-Jones
Dunois' Page Will T. Hamlin
Richard de Beauchamp Timothy Joseph Ryan*
Chaplain de Stogumber Bill Roulet*
Peter Cauchon Leo Bertelsen
Warwick's Page Will T. Hamlin
John Lemaître Robert Sonderscov*
d'Estivet Burke Pearson
de Courcelles Montserrat N. Mendez
Brother Martin Ladvenu Cyrus Farmer
Executioner Jon Fordham
Clerical Gentleman Ian Gould
Assessors Ian Gould
Frank Smith
Guards Joe Ryan
Andrew Stewart-Jones
English Soldier Joe Ryan
*Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)
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