The Maids



  • An early play by Jean Genet, first seen in 1947 inParis in a production by Louis Jouvet (1887 - 1951). The plotconcerns two despised servants, the sisters Solange and Claire, whotake it in turns to impersonate their mistress in a dangeroussadomasochistic game. The play, which was inspired by a real-life murder case of the 1930s, exemplifies Genet's theory of dramaas a masquerade, in which characters enact their secret desires andboth actors and spectators put aside their usual assumptions aboutgood and evil. In 1965 the Living Theatre mounted a celebrated off-Broadway production in which the characters were all played by men(as Genet had originally intended). The first British production, at London's Greenwich Theatre in 1970, starred Glenda Jackson and Susannah York.