The Maids tour

Sydney’s Q Theatre Company, one of Australia’s oldest theatre, companies will tour the provocative and internationally acclaimed play ‘The Maids’ to Tottenham, Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo in early August 2011.

Kicking off a three-year cultural agreement between Lachlan Shire and Penrith (in western Sydney) the tour will also feature an exhibition of work by Aboriginal artist Brook Andrew and education program for secondary schools students from the Penrith Regional Gallery.

The Maids was the first play by French literary ‘bad boy’ Jean Genet and was loosely based on the true story of two French maids, the infamous Papin sisters, Lea and Christine, who brutally murdered their boss and her daughter in Le Mans, France, in 1933.

The play was an instant international sensation, and has become legendary.

While the mistress is away, the maids will play! Domestic servants Solange and Claire are plotting to murder their mistress – Madame. Each night they play out, in increasingly macabre ways, how they might ‘do the deed’. But who dies? Is it just playacting and fantasy…… or are they indeed determined to do away with Madame? As fantasy and reality blur, the games take a deadly twist in this 1947 classic of jealousy, tension and murder.

As in all of Genet’s plays, the central theme is the struggle between authority and its victims. In The Maids this is played out as theatrical ritual, that not only reveals the maids’ hatred of the Madame’s authority, but also their self-hatred.

The Q production of this psychological, stylised and symbolic thriller will feature for the first time an all-Aboriginal cast, with Kylie Coolwell and Sharni McDermott playing Solange and Claire respectively, and Elaine Crombie as The Madame.

Renowned contemporary Aboriginal artist Brook Andrew is creating the set and costume design for The Maids. Brook is a Wiradjuri man and has exhibited to great acclaim throughout Australia and internationally. His vision for The Maids is wild.

Macabre, poetic and over the top this is most definitely not “Murder She Wrote”.

The Maids is directed by Katrina Douglas and designed by Brook Andrew, with music and soundscape by Peter Kennard, and lighting by Andrew Kinch.

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