The Maid of Orleans

by Friedrich Schiller

Premieres 31/10/2015


Running time: One hour, 45 minutes, no interval

The play begins with the youthfully pretentious appropriation of a new identity. Joan, daughter of the wealthy farmer Thibaut d’Arc, believes God has personally called on her to forsake her rural life in the mountains and join in the fighting as the holy virgin. The Hundred Year War is raging in France; the English troops have conquered the country. Weak King Charles has already been dethroned when Joan miraculously changes the course of the war – which turns her into a religious icon and fighting machine. Schiller’s heroine is broken by the conflict of her mission and her passion. Unlike the real Joan of Arc, she does not end at the inquisition’s stake. Schiller’s tragedy emphasises Joan’s agency as she makes herself the instrument of holy war. However, she ends up being brought down by her father and sacrificed by society – before finally being mythologized as a national hero.

Photos © Matthias Horn