Interview with Saint Joan star Condola Rashad
Three-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad is currently taking on her most challenging stage role to date as the titular character in Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway revival of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, which continues to run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through to June 10, 2018.
She is, of course, no stranger to tackling iconic female characters, having starred opposite Orlando Bloom in the 2013 Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet and she heas proved her acting chops with Tony-nominated performances in Stick Fly, The Trip to Bountiful and last season's A Doll's House, Part 2, but the role of Joan of Arc - with all its nuances and complexities - is without a doubt the toughest job in the young actor from the Rashad dynasty's career thus far.
We caught up with Condola following the Opening Night performance of Saint Joan to get the lowdown on the production and powerful women...
How would you describe this particular revival of Saint Joan in a nutshell?
This is a very dynamic, bright, powerhouse of a production of Saint Joan. It’s also full of humor and heart.
Before you took on this starring role, how well did you know the historical figure of Joan of Arc and what would you say you’ve learned about her through this process?
Oh! I’ve learned so much! I knew about her in general but when I found out I was doing this play, I went and did about a month and a half of research on my own. I actually put the play aside and researched Joan as if I was doing a thesis on her and what I learned was absolutely amazing. I think most people don’t know the whole story of Joan and even in the play, there are bits and pieces that a lot of people won’t know about. But even beyond the play, there is a history there that we don’t really talk about.
And why do you think Manhattan Theatre Club has decided to revive this play on Broadway now in 2018?
Because [director] Daniel Sullivan wanted to do it and Daniel Sullivan is a genius in this world! He knows what he’s doing. But also, when is a better time to tell a story of a powerful woman who was so connected to her own self?
Speaking of powerful women, are there any other iconic, female, historical figures you would love to play in your future career?
Hatshepsut! She was a Queen of Egypt and she dressed in Pharaoh garb. She was lost in history for thousands of years because under her reign, Egypt flourished “although” she was a woman. For a long time, there was an effort to silence what had happened. But she actually became Pharaoh, which a lot of people don’t know. I’d love to play her.
You’ve been through the Tony Awards process three times previously. When you receive a nomination, is it somewhat strange as a stage actor that you can’t see the other nominees’ work because you’re all on stage at the same time in different theatres?
Yes! That happens every time! That’s the one negative thing – we always wish we could see each other’s work. You don’t really think about it in terms of what you’re up against, you’ve just got to continue to do your own work. That’s the most important thing – get your work done. Everything else is kinda happening around it. Just stay focused on the play.
Saint Joan Tickets are available now for performances through to June 10, 2018.