funny and fierce non-binary Joan of Arc proves doubters wrong

funny and fierce non-binary Joan of Arc proves doubters wrong
funny and fierce non-binary Joan of Arc proves doubters wrong

“There’s nothing wrong with being a girl…unless you’re not,” says Isobel Thom’s Joan of Arc. This is a flamboyant statement to those who have condemned the Globe’s me, jane – in which the French martyr is non-binary – as a misogynist. In Charlie Josephine’s screenplay, Joan (who uses the pronouns they/them) raises nuanced and incredibly complex points about gender and how the so-called “trans debate” has pitted trans and cis women against each other. . (Men, we’re told, are the real enemy anyway.) But let’s be clear: this is not a lecture on gender studies, but a funny and fierce piece of theater. Think the words “non-binary Joan of Arc” are pissed off Daily Mail readers? They haven’t seen anything yet.

Joan greets us and welcomes us to 15th century France, but not the one we know. The future King Charles (a jolly Jolyon Coy) is a petulant, toe-tapping brat, dressed in white tennis, supported by advisers who agree with everything he says. Only the low-born Thomas (Adam Gillan) offers him sound advice. Then they hear that a girl (as they believe Joan is) is amassing followers by claiming to have been sent by God to lead France in the war against England.

Obviously, his advisers are skeptical. The men suggest that Joan must be a witch, chasing them and comically poking their faces. Joan is bewildered but excited, a nervous, tingling energy threatening to erupt within them. When people hear Joan speak, the hugely talented ensemble also twitches in anticipation. Joan’s army may be outfitted like an Urban Outfitters showcase, but she fights in a mighty, united dance, tossing and pushing against the banister of a Naomi Kuyck-Cohen set.

In I, Joan, gender is explored both directly and more subtly. Initially, our hero is designated only as a woman, a girl. Joan never asks for their pronouns to be changed, but it’s always clear that words like “woman” and the dresses pushed into them are the cause of a real uproar. These conversations are also woven into the story. Thomas tries to keep Joan’s level head, pleading that they “give people time to catch up.” Later, he angrily yells at them that “we can’t all have the luxury of revolution.”

(Helene Murray)

The combination of Thom’s charm and energy and Josephine’s script keeps the play from feeling judgmental. They delve into the things that annoyed the skeptics (who, let’s not forget, hadn’t seen the play), all gasping every time the God is called “she.” The only time the script loses me is in one of Joan’s last monologues, where Twitter and the toilet are mentioned. After so many nuances, it’s too obvious a step and takes me out of the world of the series. But as the skies open and the rain falls for Joan’s final speech, it’s hard not to be won over. “F*** your historically accurate,” Joan shouts. The screams that respond to each other are those of a deeply moved audience, seeing themselves on stage for the first time.

‘I, Joan’ airs at Shakespeare’s Globe until October 22

. Joan review Shakespeares Globe funny fierce Jeanne dArc binary give wrong to skeptics

. funny fierce nonbinary Joan Arc proves doubters wrong

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