The Lark: The Story of Joan of Arc

Written by:

Miriam Laurence

Cast Size:
21

Roles For:

  • Men: 4
  • Women: 7

Genre:

Adaptation
Drama
TYA

Themes:

History
Revolution
War
Women
Youth

Length:

70 min.

Year Written:

2014

Synopsis:

“1440’s, France: towards the end of the 100 Years War. England and France are at war. A young girl form the peasant class claims that her ‘Angels’ have told her to save France. Combining drama, humour, and many dramatic techniques, The Lark: The Story of Joan of Arc retells the story of her spectacular rise to lead the French to victory, and her ultimate betrayal, all before her nineteenth birthday.

The original production of The Lark was written by French author Jean Anouilh in the early 1950’s. It was translated by Lillian Hellman and was a huge success on Broadway in the mid-fifties. I have re-translated and adapted it so that it ‘reads’ more clearly to young people and audiences of the 21st century. In this adaptation, I have split the role of Joan up in to three actors in the different time periods of her short life and added choral elements where the Joans interact and react in unison. This has worked very well in production and serves large casts with many female actors as well.

What makes this play immediately accessible to a modern-day audience is the dramatization of Joan as a rebellious teenager, led on a path dictated by her inner voices (or her ‘Angels’). Joan’s commitment to her true self and her beliefs has been exemplified in the brave actions of many young men and women throughout times of peace and war–most recently, of Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban at the age of fourteen and who continues to demand education and justice for girls throughout the world.” (From the CPO Website)

Characters:

JOAN #1 (older: at the trial): (female) / EARL/LADY WARWICK (British): (male or female) / CAUCHON: Catholic Bishop of Beauvais (French): (must be male) / THE PROSECUTOR (French Catholic Priest): (must be male) / THE INQUISITOR (Priest of the Spanish Inquisition): (male or female) / BROTHER/SISTER LADVENU (a young French priest/nun) (male or female) / THE EXECUTIONER (can be doubled with Brother) (male or female) / SOLDIERS (can be doubled with Father/Mother) (male or female)

ENSEMBLE 4-5: CROWD, SOLDIERS and GUARDS (male or female) / JOAN #2 – the youngest Joan (female) / HER FATHER (male) / HER MOTHER (female) / HER BROTHER (male or female) / GOVERNOR ROBERT DE BEAUDRICOURT (must be male) / JOAN #3 (in man’s clothes): (female) / DAUPHIN CHARLES (Crown Prince of France) (must be male) / AGNES SOREL (Charles’ mistress) (female) / THE YOUNG QUEEN (Charles’ wife) (female) / QUEEN YOLANDE (Charles’ mother-in-law) (female) / ARCHBISHOP OF RHEIMS (Charles’ ‘advisor’) (male or female) / COMMANDER LA TREMOUILLE (Charles’ ‘advisor’) (male or female)

Resources:

The Lark: The Story of Joan of Arc is available through the CPO Website.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.