The Lark

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L'Alouette (The Lark) is a 1952 play by Jean Anouilh about Joan of Arc. It was presented on Broadway in English in 1955, starring Julie Harris as Joan and Boris Karloff as Pierre Cauchon. It was produced by Kermit Bloomgarden.The English adaptation was by Lillian Hellman and the incidental music was by Leonard Bernstein. The two stars of the play reprised their roles in a 1957 television production of the play, as part of the anthology series Hallmark Hall of Fame, but it has never been made into a theatrical film, despite being one of Anouilh's best-known works. There is also a translation by Christopher Fry (see PDF link below).

Plot summary

The play covers the trial, condemnation, and execution of Joan, but has a highly unusual ending. Joan remembers important events in her life as she is being questioned, and is subsequently condemned to death. However, Cauchon realizes, just as Joan is burning at the stake, that in her judges' hurry to condemn her, they have not allowed her to re-live the coronation of Charles VII of France. The fire is therefore extinguished, and Joan is given a reprieve. The actual end of the story is left in question, but Cauchon proclaims it a victory for Joan.


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