Endurance Theatre, a new theatre company devoted to presenting the work of women theatre artists over 40, gives Donna Kaz's quirky, athletic Joan — a youthful retelling of the Joan of Arc story — its New York City and Edinburgh, Scotland, premieres this summer.
The 90-minute physical romp through history had its world premiere by The Northeastern Theatre Ensemble in Scranton, PA, in February 2000. Kaz is the former artistic director there. The Scranton Times named the staging Best Production of that community's 2000 season and Kaz received the Jason Miller Award for Excellence in Directing.
The nonprofit Endurance, which was founded by New Yorker Kaz in 2000, presents Joan July 23-28 at the Mazer Theatre, 197 East Broadway at Jefferson Street, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The staging is an Equity showcase.
The theatricalization of Joan of Arc's world is aimed at a Gen Y audience and tells St. Joan's story using words from her letters, chronicles of the time and testimony of her trial. The piece is active, punchy and movement-driven, Kaz, 46, told Playbill On Line. "It's comic," she said, "but it's also moving. We don't change the ending. But it does feel contemporary."
The company includes original cast members Butch Stevenson and James McMenamin, and Romi Dias (in the title role), Noel Simmons, Kira Onodera and Rachel Lee Harris. Costumes are designed by Karen Anselm, with lighting by Jaye Beetem. Kaz is a writer and director who staged Roquefort for Emerging Artists Theatre, and whose book and lyrics for No Trouble at All (with music by Gerald Stockstill) were heard in the Century Center's Musical Mondays series. Kaz is a former artistic associate of York Theatre Company. Joan travels to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the C too (Venue 4) space Aug. 2-26. For tickets, visit www.CtheFestival.com.
The July 26 New York performance is a benefit for Endurance. Tickets are $15. TDF is accepted. Preview is July 23, opening is July 24. For reservations or information call (212) 717-5864,or visit www.donnakaz.com.
— By Kenneth Jones