By Jean Genet 1947
Directed and Choreographed
by Ruth Griffin 2014
At the heart of all Genet’s fiction and plays are people caught in a maze of mirrors, trapped by their own skewed reflections. In this game of mirrors each apparent reality is revealed as an illusion, which in turn is revealed as again part of a dream. Thus the characters in his plays have a vertiginous equilibrium. Along with all aspects of human identity, gender, for Genet is fluid. In The Maids the action consists of the Maids’ attempt to play out their special game to its conclusion. The fantasy of the game allows them to transform there fixed station of servitude. It also functions to deliver them into a trance state where the “unspeakable.” will be accomplished. Claire and Solange, the Maids, find themselves loathsome because they do not exist for themselves but as Sartre writes only in the way that they are ”being for others.” They can only be the person that they see reflected in the eyes of Madame and they are imprisoned as outcasts in her service. Madame has her own instability as a mistress and not the wife of a man of the petit bourgeoisie.
Griffin has a natural choreographic affinity for putting movement front and center in her shows.
-Donald Munro Fresno Bee
Just a quick note to emphasize how fantastic the production was. Another stellar production all the way around. All in our party were enormously entertained and delighted. I am sure it was frightening material because if not done right it would go way wrong.
Genet is tough, he doesn't have that rich vein of humor that Beckett used so well. And American ears are not well suited to his themes and tropes -- the point of view of the criminal, degradation, betrayal, fetish. He makes the Beats look like boy scouts, and is similar to Celine, but smarter and more likable.
-Robert Navarro Attorney at Law
Thanks so very much for your willingness to be so esthetically vulnerable with this play. The way you interpreted the dynamics in this play entered me on a cellular level. Every gesture was nuanced. The psychology is physically recognizable for me. This must have been just an excruciating experience for you at some level. But you transformed it into a beautiful and meaningful experience. Very deeply painful but so aware.
-Marij Bauman Abstract Expressionist Painter