Theatrical renderings of ancient women are ubiquitous, especially if said women are misunderstood hussies, larger than life goddesses, or victimized waifs. Writer and performer Amanda Moody, famous for her quirky piece Serial Murderess, fixes her gaze on Joan of Arc, a suitably epic heroine who doesn't easily fit outmoded archetypes. In her new work, D'Arc, woman on fire, Moody joins forces with composer Jay Cloidt and director Melissa Weaver to create a dark, voluptuous, and grimly funny piece of musical theater that spans centuries with grace and scorching intelligence. Moody fuses poetry with religious ecstasy and the present-day travails of war and media misinformation. At the center of the plot is Joanne, a woman afflicted with the loss of her daughter, who has disappeared in a war-torn region. Like Joan of Arc, Joanne also hears voices, in the form of flamey blips on her television set but here they usher from St. Joan, who acts as a sort of storytelling Sibyl while also stirring Joanne from apathy and personal torment. With the accompaniment of Elaine Kreston's eerie cello and Cloidt's composition which deftly encompasses 14th-century hymns, pulsing electronica, and jubilant gospel Moody has created a moving modern-day exploration of the human condition.
Oct. 5-27, 8 p.m., 2007