headshot of Christina Pumariega

Five Fast Facts About Joan Dark by Christina Pumariega

Joan Dark by Christina Pumariega was selected by DCPA Theatre Company as one of four featured readings in its 2023 Colorado New Play Summit. Get to know this all-new play before it’s read in front of a Denver audience for the first time!


Before ever receiving a fully staged production, Joan Dark has already been recognized as a runner up for the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award in 2022. This award recognizes new plays and performance texts by women and genderqueer writers for the stage that present a feminist perspective and present significant roles for female-identified performers


In the play, a pilot program has been created to allow women deacons to serve in the Catholic Church. It’s important to note that a program like this has not been utilized in reality, and in fact ordination of women into the diaconate has been repeatedly rejected by the Church, recently by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis. While women were influential in the early days of Catholicism, women have historically been excluded from many religious practices, including but not limited to ordination.


Protagonist Joan Ruiz was born María Ruiz but changed her name in admiration for the Catholic saint Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc in French). Joan of Arc became a military leader during the Hundred Years’ War after testifying that she was guided by visions from the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine to save France from English domination. In the play, Audrey says Joan of Arc’s mission was to “lead the people of France out of the dark.” The play’s title, Joan Dark, is a play on words.


Scripture is referenced and quoted several times throughout the play, specifically the gospels in the New Testament. The gospels were written by two of Jesus’ 12 apostles, Matthew and John, as well as two apostolic men, Mark and Luke. In one instance, Joan and Father Sheehan debate who wrote “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” While Sheehan believes it’s Matthew, Joan is correct when she says John.


Audiences are advised that substance abuse, sexual abuse, and abortion are mentioned in the play. Here are several resources for those looking for support:
Substance Abuse: https://www.denverhealth.org/services/behavioral-health/addiction-services
Sexual Abuse: https://www.ccasa.org/
Abortion: https://mychoicecolorado.org/

Joan Dark
Featured in the 2023 Colorado New Play Summit
Feb 25 & 26, 2023