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The Maids 

Children's dress-up turns to S/M, incest, murder, and an indictment of class and servitude

Wednesday, Feb 8 2006
What starts seemingly as children's dress-up soon turns to S/M, erotically charged incest, murder, and an indictment of class and servitude. In Martin Crimp's new translation, the inherently debauched text from celebrated criminal Jean Genet becomes performance poetry, as two young maids (Linnea Wilson and Jennifer Stuckert) perform ritual status games while plotting to kill their mistress (Sigrid Sutter). Wilson and Stuckert are young actors, and at times have difficulty handling the sophisticated language believably, but as the plot deepens, their innocence makes their angst, hatred, and rage all the more understandable. The tight confines of the Exit's Stage Left studio theater are well used in Eric Flatmo's set design, giving us the uncomfortable yet thrilling voyeuristic feeling of witnessing something private and dangerous. Genet, a habitual liar and the illegitimate son of a Parisian prostitute, is said to have lived his life as an "intentional pilgrimage to reach the lowest state of evil," but with The Maids, likely based on a high-profile murder case in 1930s France, he thoughtfully and lyrically illuminates class resentment and subjugation. Director Adriana Baer packages the tale adeptly in this sexy and provoking production.

About The Author

Nathaniel Eaton


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