The Lark raises relevant issues

Cassie Hardie, junior theatre major, rehersaes a scene from The Lark. The show will open at 7

30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Black Box Theatre.

Cassie Hardie, junior theatre major, rehersaes a scene from The Lark. The show will open at 7

Alexandra Nicolas

While most Missouri Southern students, faculty and staff are probably familiar with the story of Joan of Arc, chances are they haven’t experienced the tale like Southern Theatre will present it next week.

Southern’s theatre department will open their production of The Lark by Jean Anouilh, adapted by Lillian Hellman at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Black Box Theatre.

The Lark, directed by Dr. Jim Lile, professor of theatre, tells the story of Joan of Arc and the conflicts of government and religion that are still relevant today.

Though the play’s underlying themes remain pertinent, its French aspects also tie in with the France Semester theme.

“This is kind of our contribution, I chose this because of its inherent Frenchness,” said Lile.

He said the theatre department has in the past and will continue to run a productions to tie in with the themed semester.

Though the play has a historical theme, the issues it examines remain relevant.

“It has got contemporary political resonance, we have the story of Joan of Arc, but we realize that some of the things she faced . . .it hasn’t changed,” Lile said.

While some characters wear dress typical of the Middle Ages, Joan, played by Cassie Hardie, junior theatre major, wears modern-day military-style clothing.

“It’s a deliberate effort to keep one foot in the Middle Ages and one foot in next week,” Lile said.

Though the original version of The Lark by Anouilh is seen as being rather heavy, the adaptation is supposed to be more easily received.

“I wanted a play that would speak to our contemporary experience,” Lile said.

The show uses a non-traditional style in the presentation of these timeless issues.

Many actors play several characters and, when not on stage, the actors sit on benches beside the set.

All costume changes and prop changes take place in full view of the audience.

Though this style is unconventional, the intention is to reach more of the audience with the play’s message.

“I hope it makes it a little more accessible now that we’ve taken some of the illusion away,” Lile said.

In addition to the unconventional structure, the characters are also openly aware of their fates from the beginning, Anouilh wrote the play with “Joan playing Joan.”

“She’s one of the few characters that never changes,” Hardie said.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for senior citizens and high school students. To reserve tickets please call 625-3190.