Review: If I Have To Repeat Myself … (Sprint Digital, CPT)

A six-hour livestream about the trial of Joan of Arc is quite an achievement. If I Have To Repeat Myself One More Time I’m Going To is presented by Clara Potter-Sweet and Eve Allin.

There are six sections, and you can dip in and out of them as they play. The show is presented on Twitch with two windows: one has the performer/reader, the other has a close-up of hands assembling a basket or a chain. A clock runs down the time remaining. There is live captioned text running on screen below the speaker.

The sections are Maiden, Battleground, Defendant, Martyr, Witch and Saint. Each comes with a content warning but each displays a depth of detail which brings Joan’s story into sharp relief.

The text is mainly from the transcript of the Trial of Condemnation of Joan of Arc, itself a text which has become itself a holy relic. As Potter-Sweet and Allin take turns to read the transcript, it is possible to tune in and out of the story, catching now and then echoes of contemporary misogyny.

Screencaps from If I Have To Repeat Myself ...

Supplemented by other sources discussing gender identity, objectification and domestic violence, this story reaches us across the ages.

I found this piece a very interesting installation based on its length alone, but what initially feels as if it might be a difficult topic in which to engage becomes absolutely engrossing throughout. I ended up actively engaging with each segment for at least half of its time, so feel I gained a feel for what Potter-Sweet and Allin had created.

Joan of Arc is now one of the great feminist icons. Put on trial and to death for leading an army and dressing as a man just as much as claiming to act on the voice of God, there is a large amount of evidence pointing to her fate being a huge miscarriage of justice. The transcript of her trial proves her to be an astute and intelligent young woman, clear in her faith and effective in her support for her country. That it turned on her is one of the worst examples of mistreatment of a woman since records began.

If I Have To Repeat Myself One More Time is streaming in the Camden People’s Theatre Sprint Digital Festival until 7 June. Book here on a Pay What You Can basis.

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