Students of seventeenth-century French drama offer oddly truncated readings of Jean Rotrou’s Véritable Saint Genest. Fascinated by the play within a play in which the eponymous saint is converted to a Christian martyr’s faith by performing a Christian martyr’s role, scholars focus on acts 2 through 4, where the play in question is rehearsed and staged. However, overlooking the frame in acts 1 and 5, where the subject of the interior play is chosen and the problematic consequences of the actor’s conversion are laid out, obscures Rotrou’s true theme, which is neither of those conventionally ascribed to him: the staging of the martyr drama’s soteriological lesson or, in more secular wise, a baroque celebration of theater’s demiurgical powers of illusion. Rotrou reflects instead on the motives behind period reluctance to stage tragedies that draw on recent events, in particular the religious civil wars of the preceding century. Albeit in the discreetly displaced form of a martyr story set in imperial Rome, the play enacts the violent disorders associated with religion itself and so, by extension, the virtues of the new secular order that theater embodies.