MOTHER OF THE MAID, now playing at MOXIE Theatre offers powerful performances on parenting, faith, and how to help your child live their life on their terms. Even if those terms challenge your ability to keep them safe, and could potentially be deadly. MOTHER OF THE MAID is playing through May 22nd.
Parenting brings about a lot of unexpected situations to deal with on its own, but once you add in your teenage daughter talking to saints about how to expel the English from France, that seems like a parenting challenge for which there is no amount of preparation. Set in the early 1400’s the play follows Joan’s mother Isabelle Arc (Jennifer Eve Thorn), a woman of religious faith who is just trying to keep her children and husband alive, fed, and working on their farm to live the best life they can.
When her daughter Joan (Mikaela Rae Macias) who she loves, but finds her teenage impertinence trying, confides that she is having visions and conversations with a saint it is hard for Isabelle to process. Joan’s father Jacques (Dave Rivas) is angry at the insanity of the idea, while Jan’s brother Pierre (Zack King) at first doesn’t believe but is quickly won over to Joan’s side once people with power and prestige back her claim.
Isabelle tries to understand and support Joan; as a woman of faith she wants to believe this, but it all seems too extraordinary to be expected for her daughter who is a peasant girl with no fight training.
Thorn is excellent as Isabelle, a woman out of her depth in terms of dealing with the church, the monarchy, and the military that have all taken in Joan. Her Isabelle continues to try to be there for Joan who finds herself in a sea of vastly more powerful people. Thorn only gets stronger as the show continues toward its inevitable and heartbreaking conclusion as Joan’s fate becomes more clear.
Macias doesn’t have much more than typical teenage rebellious beats of rebellion and impudence in the first act but really shines in the second act as Joan finds herself feeling abandoned as her heavenly communication stops and she is imprisoned.
The rest of the ensemble adds enough texture to the piece to allow the relationship between Isabelle and Joan to stand out. Rivas and King are very good as the opposing male perspectives in Joan’s family – Rivas as the more bullying and gruff father, and King as the more gregarious and relaxed brother. Mark C. Petrich brings the weight and unpredictability of the Catholic Church to the story as Father Gilbert, Sarah Alida Leclair brings some humor as a well-meaning but unhelpful gentile Lady of the Court, and Sergio Diaz-Delgado rounds out the cast with various characters.
Well directed by Desireé Clarke the pacing and the tension build to an emotional zenith, full of love, sadness, and determination.
In the end, MOTHER OF THE MAID is about how parenting is an act of faith, and an act of love and commitment, even in unexpected and harsh circumstances.
How To Get Tickets
You can see MOTHER OF THE MAID at MOXIE Theatre through now extended through May 22nd.June 5th. For ticket and show time information go to moxietheatre.com
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