Baton Rouge’s Red Magnolia stages ‘Mother of the Maid,’ telling Joan of Arc’s story

Baton Rouge's Red Magnolia stages 'Mother of the Maid,' telling Joan of Arc's story
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Kaitlyn Stockwell plays Isabelle, who was unwavering in her support for her daughter, Joan of Arc, in Red Magnolia Theatre Co.’s production of ‘Mother of the Maid.’

C. Jaye Miller’s first encounter with Jane Anderson’s “Mother of the Maid” was in Chicago.

She was living there when the Windy City-based Northlight Theatre announced its audition for the Joan of Arc-themed play. Miller read it and knew she had to audition for the role of Joan.

“It was in my age range at the time,” she said.

Still, Joan isn’t exactly the main character of this story. That role belongs to her mother, Isabelle, who supported her daughter at all costs.

“’Mother of the Maid’ is not just the story of Joan of Arc and her mother, although that is more than enough to draw people in,” Miller said. “This is a universal story of a child who feels a pull and has the bravery to come into their own and of parents learning how to navigate and champion that.”

Unfortunately, Miller didn’t get the part in the Northlight production. But she did land the role of director of Red Magnolia Theatre Co.’s production of Anderson’s story, which opens Thursday, March 7, in St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church’s sanctuary, 12663 Perkins Road.

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Arden Hale, left, plays Joan of Arc, and Kaitlyn Stockwell plays her mother, Isabelle, in Red Magnolia Theatre Co.’s production of ‘Mother of the Maid.’ 

Performances continue Friday through Saturday, March 8-10, and again Thursday through Saturday, March 14-16. All shows start at 7:30 p.m.

The story focuses on the relationship between Isabelle, played by Kaitlyn Stockwell, and her daughter, Joan, played by Arden Hale. It opens in Joan’s hometown of Domremy in northeast France, where she tells her mom she’s receiving divine visions from St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret guiding her to help Charles VII of France save her country from England.

Under that same divine guidance, Joan became a military leader who transcended gender roles to gain recognition as the savior of France.

But that title came with a price. Joan would be executed at age 19 for heresy for her claim of divine guidance and blasphemy for leading the French army while wearing men’s clothes.

Meanwhile, Isabelle never wavered in her support for Joan.

“She petitioned the new pope about 20 to 25 years after Joan’s execution and got him to reopen her case,” Miller said. “She petitioned him for a pardon, and he did pardon her.”

Joan of Arc wouldn’t be the patron saint of France, otherwise.

“Her mother never gave up,” Miller continued. “The story features both of them, but at the end, Isabelle talks about this in a synopsis of what happened after Joan’s death.”

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Kaitlyn Stockwell, left, plays Isabelle, mother to Joan of Arc, played by Arden Hale, right, in Red Magnolia Theatre Co.’s production of ‘Mother of the Maid.’

Though she didn’t win the part of Joan in Chicago, Miller loved the play. She picked up a copy and read it quickly.

“It’s really a new play,” she said. “It was written in 2018, and it normally takes me a couple of sit-downs to go through an entire play, but I read through this one quickly because it was so intriguing that I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I heard some of the cast members in the Chicago production say the same thing. It was pre-pandemic, and it was a terrific production.” 

“Mother of the Maid” marks Miller’s directorial debut, and as director, she knew this story had to play out some place special.

“Our venue where we would usually perform was booked, but I knew I wanted to do this play in a place that had stained glass,” she said.

That’s when the Rev. Tommy Dillon offered St. Margaret’s sanctuary as the play’s setting. Actually, the church is more than appropriate for the story, being that St. Margaret was one of the three divine characters guiding Joan in her mission.

So, it’s in St. Margaret’s where Miller’s cast of eight will take the stage, including Ray Gaspard as Joan’s father, Jacques; Stephen Atkins as Pierre Arc; Domonique Johnson as Lady of the Court; Adam Marks as Father Gilbert; Ben Kilman as Chamberlain/Guard; and Louisa deBlieux as Monique/Scribe.

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Arden Hale, left, plays Joan of Arc, and Kaitlyn Stockwell, right, plays her mother, Isabelle, in Red Magnolia Theatre Co.’s production, ‘Mother of the Maid.’ 

“It’s more than a play about Joan of Arc,” Miller said. “It’s about parents and mothers championing their children who are different, who are defying social norms, gender norms, and religious norms. And it’s generational — every generation has parents not understanding their children and having to choose whether to support them or not. I just think this story is so relevant today.”

Jennifer Ellis, who sits on the theater company’s board of directors, agrees. 

“This play does more than advance our organization’s mission of elevating female voices through theater and education,” she said. “It’s relevant in its exploration of what it’s like to parent a child who is different. The production gives women in the community the opportunity to explore their creativity in set, costume and props design as well as stage management and marketing.”

Tickets are $25 for students and $35 for adults. For tickets, visit


About Mary Weyand 11639 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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