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The Survival of St. Joan is a rock opera by Smoke Rise (Gary Ruffin, Hank Ruffin, Stan Ruffin, and Randy Bugg) with music composed by Hank and Gary Ruffin on a libretto by James Lineberger. To date, it has not been issued on compact disc. It was first produced as a concept album on Paramount Records PAS-9000 by Stephen Schwartz in 1971. A concert version ran eight performances at The Playwrights Unit. A fully-scripted musical play with spoken dialogue, directed by Chuck Gnys was produced at the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, New York, November 5, 1970. It had sixteen performances Off-off-Broadway at the Anderson Theater, directed by Gnys and produced by Haila Stoddard and Neal Du Brock, where audiences were frequently scared off by the local chapter of the Hells Angels in the front rows each night.
Possibly inspired by Operation Shepherdess: The Mystery of Joan of Arc by André Guérin and Jack Palmer White, a revisionist history alleging that Joan of Arc escaped execution and later married a nobleman named Robert des Armoises, an idea rejected by historians , and certainly inspired by the Vietnam War, the opera tells of the government of France and Pierre Cauchon, Archbishop of Beauvais releasing Joan of Arc and allowing a double, also believed to be a witch, to burn in her place. She is sent to live with a mute farmer, who falls in love with her, as he elucidates in songs performed in soliloquy toward the audience. Realizing that there is no end in sight to the Hundred Years' War, the first act ends with Joan seeking to rejoin the army, despite the fact that she is no longer hearing her voices.
In Act II, Joan learns that she has lost the respect of the army, who attempt to rape her. (The libretto in the concept album has her get raped about halfway through the act; this was changed when stagings went beyond a band performance to a full-fledged play.) She meets with a deserter who no longer understands the purpose of the war, unless it is God's desire to reduce the population, as well as civilians affected by the war's rationing, complaining that the general can have whatever he wants, whether or not he needs it. Alone and unappreciated, Joan is eventually found by villagers who mistakenly decide she has put a hex on their cow, who tie her to a tree and immolate her, thus her life ends almost as history tells us it did. Upon her death, she re-establishes contact with her three voices, St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret.
The play script is held in the North Carolina Collection at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and remains unpublished. It contains many scene changes, often depicting how ordinary people's lives affect the war, including Joan's brother, Charles, acting as a scribe for his mother, requesting the king to provide them Joan's soldier wages to live on, and chides her for some irate informalisms she wants to include.
- Additional Songs for the Expanded Version
- Living with the Devil - Witches
- Her Strength in Battle - Court Poet
- Hymn to the Warrior Saint - Court Poet
- Army Life - Soldiers
Stephen Schwartz worked on an unused song for the expansion called "I'll Call Her Barbara" (The Shepherd).
The album featured a cover painting by Doug Jamieson.
(in order of appearance)
- The Voices
- Witches (3)
- Pierre Cauchon, The Bishop of Beauvais
- Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc)
- Young Witch
- The Shepherd (formerly known as "The Farmer" on the album libretto)
- An English Soldier
- Court Poet
- Mme. d'Arc
- Charles d'Arc (Joan's brother)
- Three Fishermen
- Soldiers and Whores
- John de Stogumber, a blind man
- His Servant
- Phillippe, her son
- Leper Woman
- Leprous Thieves
- Fortune Teller
- Four Nuns
- The Accuser
- ↑ Among other sources, see Pernoud's "Joan of Arc, By Herself and Her Witnesses", pp. 249 -254
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The Survival of St. Joan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|