LRO 355: “Artistic License in a Woke Era”


When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender
This I could not do

(Leonard Cohen, The Partisan)

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LRO 355
21st September 2022


Artistic License in a Woke Era
Peggy Papada | London, UK

I Joan, a play which opened at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London last month, shows Joan of Arc as a legendary leader who uses the pronouns, they/ them. Lest it be criticised for historical inaccuracy, the theatre was proactive in affixing a special note by its artistic director: “Theatres do not deal with ‘historical reality’. Theatres produce plays, and in plays, anything can be possible. […] History has provided countless and wonderful examples of Joan portrayed as a woman. This production is simply offering the possibility of another point of view. That is the role of theatre: to simply ask the question ‘imagine if?’[1] Exculpated from any criticism on a retelling of the history which would not be heteronormative and cisnormative as it has always been[2], I Joan downplays the political and religious themes of medieval France only to magnify the dimension of ‘gender identity’ and what are presented as definitive implications via a melange of past and present: "Truth is, trans people are sacred and queerness is magic, pure magic! We are beautiful, and powerful, and for that we are killed. The violence is real. You know how my story ends.".. [Read full article]

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