THE STORY: Chapman, writing in the New York News called The Lark: “a beautiful, beautiful play…It is always the story of a simple girl who became an inspired warrior and then was tried by the church—but there have been several ways of telling it. Anouilh’s way, and Miss Hellman’s, is to try to tell the story from two viewpoints. One of them is how we look at the tale now as a piece of history, with our knowledge of how the girl’s blundering captors unwittingly created a martyr who became forever a symbol of courage and faith. The other viewpoint has been to try to imagine what it must have been like to be Joan herself. Both approaches to this legend of the Martyr of Rouen have been splendidly realized by the technique of divorcing the drama from the confinements of time, sequence and space. Until the last moment—a thrilling and uplifting one of Joan’s greatest earthly triumph, the coronation of the worthless Dauphin for whom she fought—there is no scenery in the usual sense, merely a few levels of steps and platforms, and lights. With this freedom, the story of Joan of Arc can move backward or forward without an interruption, without a jar. It begins with Joan’s trial, and her tale of the voices which prompted her one day to set forth and save France from the English. And as she tells her listeners—the cold Inquisitor from Spain, the politically cynical Earl of Warwick, the deeply religious but ineffectual Cauchon and all the others—of what she heard and what she did, her story comes alive."
One of the outstanding hits on Broadway…Atkinson, in the New York Times, wrote “…a memorable picture of a moment that is immortal in history and exalting on the stage.” —NY Times. The New York Herald-Tribune describes the language as having a “simple, clear, timeless ring to it, and its directness is exhilarating."