Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Saint Joan
Bedlam / Folger Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's review of Waitress

Dria Brown
Photo by Teresa Wood
New York City's Bedlam company returns to the Folger Theatre in Washington with a production of Saint Joan that demonstrates the power of theater: four actors in street clothes, with limited props and a set mostly consisting of draped sheets and a few wall panels, conjure up George Bernard Shaw's majestic story through their words and actions.

Bedlam presented its adaptation of Sense and Sensibility on its last visit to the Folger, receiving four Helen Hayes Awards including Outstanding Play and Outstanding Director for company co-founder Eric Tucker, who returns as director and actor. Once again, the company shows how actors with a command of language and an understanding of their characters can create magic without a need for lavish trimmings. The immersive staging includes audience seats on the stage, with shifts in the seating configuration for each of the three acts, and some action taking place in the auditorium.

Shaw's 1923 play contains more than 25 roles, from farmers and peasants to noblemen and church officials. Dria Brown, as Joan, is the only actor with a single role; Tucker, Edmund Lewis, and Sam Massaro play all the other characters, differentiating among them with bits of costume (designed by Tucker, who also did the sound design), posture, and vocal quality.

Brown is both powerful and delightful as Joan. She conveys in her posture and voice the knowledge that everything she does is for the sake of God's glory and the freedom of France, speaking straightforwardly, unlike the priests and politicians around her, enthusiastic and confident, incapable of considering that anyone could not see the rightness of her cause—for all that, human rather than divine.

Tucker's roles range from the army commander Dunois to the urbane, silky-voiced Earl of Warwick; Lewis stands out as the Dauphin, a weak and uncertain man until Joan pushes him to take the French throne; and Massaro excels in ecclesiastical roles.

Folger Theatre
Bedlam's Saint Joan
May 12th - June 10th, 2018
By George Bernard Shaw
Joan: Dria Brown
Dauphin, John de Stogumber, and others: Edmund Lewis
Cauchon, Poulengey, and others: Sam Massaro
Dunois, Warwick, and others: Eric Tucker
Directed by Eric Tucker
Folger Shakespeare Library, Elizabethan Theatre
201 E. Capitol St., SE
Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-544-7077 or