There are, of course, exceptions, as Bernard Shaw discovered when writing St Joan. The Maid of Orleans didn't exactly simper and suffer in silence. London hasn't seen a production in years, but Imogen Stubbs (right) is about to rectify that.
Leading Australian director, Gale Edwards, explains: 'It's a fabulously modern play about an individual having the courage to stand up to the system. It's also about women fighting in a male world, but the universal message is paramount. Of course, its resonances are clear and strong. Look at the trouble surrounding the ordination of women. It's also a fiendishly difficult play for a director, but I'm always stimulated by a challenge.
With a highly successful tour behind it, there has also been the luxury of new rehearsals. 'That can be a real drudge, especially if the actors resent it. We've spent three days in a very hot rehearsal room literally sweating it out, but they have been wonderful. There's an enormous vitality. They're a collective group of storytellers with passion, clarity and enthusiasm.'
'St Joan' opens tomorrow at the Strand Theatre (071-930 8800)
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