What I learned. . .

With Shaw, it's all about the arguments.  Get them clear and you're not home free, but you're on your way.  I challenged myself more than ever to trust stillness. . .  to not let anything distract from the arguments.  The tent scene was huge, but thanks to heroic work from John Rensenhouse, Tuck Milligan, and Christopher Gerson I think we succeeded in holding people's attention through a lengthy, talky, but ultimately thrilling scene.

The other big lesson was finding the comedy in the epilogue.  The funnier it became, the better it worked.

Saint Joan

Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

January, 2009

Tarah Flanagan

“About five years ago, director Paul Mason Barnes gave audiences at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis a memorable treat with Stones in His Pockets.

Although there were just two actors, Barnes’ vivacious staging seemed to fill the Irish countryside with a host of vivacious characters.  Now he’s done the same thing inside-out with a lucid new production of Saint Joan.  It opened Friday.”

“Fast-paced, easy-to-follow. . .”  “Flanagan’s the only woman in the cast, but Barnes makes sure the male characters are clearly drawn, too. . .  each man speaks for himself.”  “Rarely have a writer, a director and actors managed to communicate their big thematic ideas so efficiently. . .”  “The set gives the production the room and grandeur Barnes’ big, clear story demands.”

    Judith Newmark

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“A fine production of a difficult piece.”  “Director Paul Mason Barnes reveals a deep understanding of Shavian ideas. . .  succeeds in making Saint Joan well worth our time.”

    Andrea Braun


“. . . the brilliant direction of Paul Mason Barnes. . . “  “This Saint Joan crackles, brings us laughs and truly rivets us with over two hours of compelling theatre.”

    Steve Allen


“Director Paul Mason Barnes keeps the action moving with the scenes flowing seamlessly into one another. . .”

    Chris Gibson

“An outstanding production. . .  a perfect setting for a jewel.”  “Director Paul Mason Barnes is clear as a bell in his vision.” “A superb story, brilliantly told.”

    Joe Pollack


“Four years ago Paul Mason Barnes directed a near-perfect production of the Irish play Stones in His Pockets on the Rep Mainstage.  Two months later Tarah Flanagan delivered a memorably complex portrayal of a rookie cop in the Rep Studio’s Lobby Hero.  Now the Rep has sent these two supreme artists on a journey to scale the summit that is Saint Joan.”  “The measure of Flanagan’s guileless performance is that it doesn’t feel like a performance. . .  Barnes has surrounded her with a polished and. . . sumptuous production.”

    Dennis Brown

    The Riverfront Times

“The meticulous presentation now being performed at The Rep intricately establishes both the unbridled fervor of the teenage Joan and the austere and pompous boundaries of the church and government of her time as viewed by director Paul Mason Barnes.”

    Mark Bretz

    The Ladue News