Theater: St. Joan

G. B. Shaw's plays have taken his death badly. The scenes creak at the joints. The wit sputters more often than it fizzes. The characters seem alive from the neck up only. St. Joan has not been spared. In a conscientious but lethargic revival at Manhattan's Lincoln Center Repertory Theater, the play drones on like a college seminar labeled "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Nationalism, 1412-1431." In the title role, Diana Sands is earth-bound but never God-intoxicated, more of a common scold than an uncommon saint.

The theatrical problem of St. Joan is an immense credibility gap. At the heart...