This weeks blog is written by Bedlam’s Saint Joan cast member Andy Rindlisbach.
Hi, Andy Rindlisbach here. I’m a happy newcomer to Naples, and one of four actors in Bedlam’s production of Saint Joan, which starts previews this week.
As an actor, you have the privilege of telling all sorts of stories. Some tragic, some farcical, and (the good ones) full of humanity, in all its complicated expressions. However, it’s always a special treat to get to tell a story that resonates so strongly with the experiences of the present moment. Although this play premiered nearly one hundred years ago, Saint Joan does just that.
In this version of Joan’s story, we get to see the unfortunate consequences of people acting out of fear. For some characters, it’s the fear of losing power and social status, for others, the fear of a change in the established order and tradition. For some, it’s the dread of recognizing the fear within themselves, contrasted with Joan’s confidence and conviction. We struggle with these fears as much today as when Shaw wrote the script in the 1920s, and indeed when Joan lived the events in the early 1400s.
Shaw shows us that the antidotes to our fear are equally as human, and equally as contagious: courage and imagination. Most of us think we know how the story of Joan ended. Yes, we know the basic facts of her life and death, but Shaw reminds us that her story didn’t end at the stake. Further, he reminds us that if we embrace our own courage and imagination, as Joan did, we have the power to change the outcomes of our personal and shared stories.
As a woman, Joan’s voice was not welcome in her time, yet she spoke out and acted on her convictions. How fitting that in our own time, full of fear and uncertainty, we see marginalized voices speaking up and taking action. One character in the play asks (with trepidation) what the world will be like when every girl sees herself as a Joan. We are now living the courageous answer to his question.
My fellow cast mates and I look forward to sharing this story with you, sharing the physical space with you, imagining with you, and keeping the flame of Joan’s spirit alive.
Tickets to Bedlam’s Saint Joan can be purchased at https://www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org/2019-2020-season/bedlams-saint-joan/.