Tuesday, May 3, 2022

“Mother of the Maid” Made for Moxie’s Jennifer Eve Thorn’s Bravura Return to The Stage.

Jennifer Eve Thorn

When thinking of saints in history, the fifteenth century to be exact, one of the most read about and heard about would be Joan of Arc. Joan began having visions of seeing St. Catherine of Alexandria when she was thirteen. She claimed that Catherine was sent by God to her to lead the French Army in an attempt to conquer the English during the Hundred Years War. (Short version)

In Jane Anderson’s “Mother of the Maid” currently being staged at Moxie Theatre through May 22nd, Isabelle Arc is the center of this story, not Joan or Joanie as her mother called her. As told through Isabelle’s eyes, her teenaged daughter was somewhat belligerent, rebellious, bull headed, and oft times sullen yet still vulnerable. Sounds like some teenagers I have known.

Jennifer Eve Thorn and Mikaela Rae Macias

Joan (Mikaela Rae Macis is exceptional as Joan) was no ordinary teenager as Isabelle will tell you. Jennifer Eve Thorn who is brilliant in the role of Joan’s mother Isabelle gives a full throttle portrayal of a mother who loves unconditionally, steadfastly and at times nudgingly and grudgingly.

Thorn who aside from the fact that she is executive artistic director and one of the founding mothers of Moxie, and has been away from acting for six years, is a mother and has a teenager herself.  She is no stranger to the changing whiles of one just about heading into adulthood. 

As Isabelle, apart from being there for her daughter Joan, has the compassion and patience  to help her daughter through her most difficult of times in her life from talking about boys, with whom she had no interest but wants to dress like one, or marriage, confessing she would not make a good wife, to trying to relate her ‘visions’ to her no nonsense father Jacque, (Dave Rivas is a bit macho but that was their role in those days) who is totally put off by the whole thing, to sending for the Parish Priest, Father Gilbert to get his blessings, to entrusting her daughter to the safety of her brother Pierre (Zack King)

Mikaela Rae Macias

God fearing herself, Isabelle is convinced and nudged by Father Gilbert to take her daughter’s word that she is telling the truth.  Joan is already in good favor with the Dauphin soon to be crowned king (Charles VII) who has high praises for her and has given her unfettered access to him. During this time Joan asks and gets an army to lead into battle against the English.

 Not one to be left out of a conversation, and as the class structure goes, this peasant and faithful woman travels to the castle, which takes weeks, only to find herself soaked to the skin by the time she arrives. There she meets a Lady of the Court, Nicole, (Sarah Alida LeClair adding a bit of satirical humor to her role) where niceties and food and drinks are exchanged. Isabelle is finally allowed to see her Joan in the king’s chapel where Joan, looking saintly, greets her mother and blesses her. 

Sergio Diaz-Delgado and Sarah Alida LeClair

As history will tell, Joan was successful for a short while and her visions were coming true, but the tide turns in Act II when she is captured and turned over to the English where she was tried for heresy and sentenced to be burned at the stake. Sadly, not one of her supporters, Father Gilbert (Mark C.Petrich), Nicole or the king comes to her aid. 

Always the loving parent, Isabelle is with Joan in her cell as she prepares her frightened daughter, just nineteen, for her ultimate sacrifice.  Always the fighter and dedicated and loving mother, Isabelle fights to reverse Joan’s conviction of heresy and witchcraft. In 1456 Joan’s trail was nullified. Three years later Isabelle died and in ‘1920 Joan was officially canonized She was considered one of history’s greatest saints.

Mikaela Rae Macias and Jennifer Eve Thorn

Mother of the Maid” is as compelling and chilling to the bone  as the one seen on Moxie’s stage because of the deft direction of Desireé Clarke and the bravura acting of Thorn.  Not only are we believers, but because of the gentle prodding of these characters by Clarke, we want to be believers that what the playwright is saying is true. 

Adding to the overall beauty of this production are Courtney  Ohnstad’s  picture period costumes, Yi-Chien Lee’s sturdy set, Annelise Raquel Salazar’s lighting, Rachel MacDougall LeVine’s sound design and Amy Chini’s props. 

Can’t rave enough. You do not want to miss this. Moxie outdid itself and well deserves  audiences to pack the house to see “Mother of the Maid”. 

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Through May 22.

Where: Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., Suite N, San Diego

Photo: Desireé Clarke

Tickets: $35-$37

Phone: (858) 598-7620

Online: moxietheatre.com

Proof of vaccine and ID required as are masks.

No comments:

Post a Comment