The play is derived from “The Maids” by Jean Genet, which debuted on April 17, 1947 at the Théâtre de l’Athénée, Paris.
In 1940s France, Claire and Solange are two sisterhousemaids who engage in role-play while their mistress, known only as Madame, is out of the house.
The object of the game is to reach the moment when Madame is murdered by the maids. They switch roles, with each playing Madame as the other plays the maid. In their desire to murder Madame through the Madame-Maid game, they express their longing to relieve themselves of the burden of authority that oppresses them. But the classic version asserts that the two can never fulfill this wish, and so they commit suicide. That is the classic play.
Is it still applicable today?
The answer may not be straightforward. In many past productions, the women’s roles were played by men. They wore make-up and behaved in stereotypically feminine fashion, once a rather sensational feat.
In the new adaptation, the characters are played by men, with no effort made to hide this fact. It is abundantly clear that these are men, and not a kind of theatrical drag show. This interpretation creates new theatrical tension. Thus, when — as the play progresses — the men discard their maid outfits and remain in the clothes of immigrant workers, the way is paved for present reality to breach that of the classic play, as the story hurtles forward towards its grim conclusion.
Play adapted from Jean Genet (as translated by Ada Ben-Nahum) With an excerpt from “War Journal 2014” by Salman Natour.
Adaptation: Amir Orian and Avi Gibson Bar-El
Director: Avi Gibson Bar-El
Actors and Co-Creators: Aviel Shilyan, Tal Danino, Moti Rozentsvige
Artistic Adviser: Amir Orian, The Roome Theatre
Assistant Director and Visual Adviser: Rinat Moskona
Stage and Costume Design: Avi Gibson Bar-El
Sound Editing and Artistic Guidance: Yinon Tzafrir
Movement Adviser: Daniel Zafrani
Dramaturgy: Yifat Zandani-Tzafrir
Artistic Director of Orto-Da Theatre Group: Yinon Tzafrir
The production would like to thank Rachel Willner, Yifat Barzilay, Tami Porat – business development, and Irit Fogel