‘Knowing Joan’: play written, directed by Simpson professor

by Mariah Hirsch, Staff Reporter

Theatre Simpson has been busy preparing for its production of “Knowing Joan,” a play written and directed by Jennifer Nostrala, department of theater arts chair at Simpson College.

Nostrala wrote her play while on sabbatical in the spring of 2014.

“My favorite part is watching the play go from being some idea into something that lives and breathes in other people,” Nostrala said.

The cast of 17 began memorizing lines over holiday break and began rehearsal at the start of the semester. The first read through, however, was last fall

“The story is interesting with great contemporary connections that can be made,” Nostrala said.

For freshman theatre and music major Morgan Merrill, “Knowing Joan” will be her first production at Simpson College.

“I really enjoyed coming back after break and being able to see how everyone came together,” Merrill said. “We knew that we were going to perform something amazing.”

The play is about Yolande and Joan. Yolande, a 20-year-old woman working in a rundown coffee shop, writes songs about the things she sees in dreams or in real life.

In her dreams, she is haunted by Joan of Arc, a 15th-century heroine. Yolande hits rock bottom in her life as she struggles to do something meaningful. It is a mixture of historical scenes and present-day life.

“The great thing about this show is that you get a little bit of everything,” Merrill said. “You see real life struggle and accomplishment.”

“Knowing Joan” will be performed at the Blank Performing Arts Center. The play runs from Feb. 11 through Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 1 p.m.

Tickets for Simpson students are free and can be found at http://events.simpson.edu/event/theatre_simpson_knowing_joan#.VqMLyJorJd.