PROVO The belief in patron saints or guardian angels is certainly not a new concept, but playwright Melissa Leilani Larson has taken the idea to a whole wonderful new level in her script "Angels Unaware: A Story of Joan of Arc," currently playing at Brigham Young University.
The story of Joan of Arc is inspiring and curious as she proclaims visitations and instructions from St. Catherine, St. Margaret and the angel Michael. These voices convince Joan she is on a mission sent from God to save France from the wretched English. Although she wins a portion of her country back for King Charles, she fails to win back Paris. She is eventually captured and sold to the English, imprisoned, tortured and tried. For her heresies she is burned at the stake.
"Angels Unaware" addresses more than just Joan of Arc. It gives insight into the earthly woes of Catherine and Margaret as defenders of the faith, and their eventual post-mortal mission from God to help Joan. Playwright Larson makes many comparisons in this stunning story of Christian martyrs. Of note is the plea from an imprisoned Joan that sounds quite similar to the prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail as she cries out, "Oh, God where art thou, and where is thy pavilion . . . ?"
The talented cast for this production includes Hollie Beard (Joan), Amanda Schutz (Catherine), Jennie Pardoe (Margaret), Phillip Clayton (Michael), Jason Purdie (Charles/Warwick/Historian), Slate Holmgren (Cauchon/Historian), Luke Rebarchik (Historian), Moronai Kanekoa (Historian).
Beard's Joan is a magnificent portrayal, as are Schutz's Catherine and Pardoe's Margaret. These three women pull emotion from the audience and lift the story to a higher level. For their part, the men aren't bad either.
The set is stunning, particularly the stained glass. Costuming is versatile and believable of the period. Both add a dramatic effect to the outcome of the play. This version of the Joan of Arc story is definitely one to see and experience.Sensitivity rating: May be too intense for younger children. Appropriate for ages 12 and older.
If you go
What: "Angels Unaware: A Story of Joan of Arc"
Where: Margetts Theatre, Harris Fine Arts, BYU Provo campus
When: through March 25
Cost: $12/$9 students
Phone: 422-4322Web: www.byu.edu