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Saint Joan 

When: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 10 2009
Price: $11-$18

It's no picnic being a 15th-century French military leader when the Earl of Warwick has a bounty on your head, even if you're following some divine purpose. Such was the predicament of Joan of Arc, the eponymous star of George Bernard Shaw's 1923 drama Saint Joan. Shaw wrote the play as both a history and an encomium just three years after Joan of Arc was finally canonized. Originally, it ran to three and a half hours and contained long swaths of didactical text. David Bogdonoff edited the original script for his current Contra Costa Civic Theatre production, which stars the alluring Kate Culbertson as Joan, with a rather large ensemble of clergy and dignitaries. Even with the cuts, Bogdonoff preserves the drama and humor of Saint Joan, and even keeps some of the homilies that Shaw stuck in his original version. Through May 10 at Contra Costa Civic Theatre (951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito). $11-$18.

— Rachel Swan


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