Absurdist playwright Jean Genet’s dark, deeply tragic story of illusion and theatricality in response to oppression by authority will take the stage this fall at Flagler College, as the Department of Theatre Arts presents a new adaptation by Benedict Andrews and Andrew Upton of the classic “The Maids” from Nov. 10 through Nov. 12.
Inspired by the true crime story of France’s infamous Papin sisters, Genet’s 1947 masterpiece centers on sisters Solange and Claire, devoted yet disconsolate housemaids that construct an elaborate role-playing ritual when their Madame is away. Taking turns dressing and embodying Madame, while the other remains subservient in her role as the maid, the sisters play a game that is at once cathartic, violent and terrifying: the intended climax being the ceremonious “killing” of their Mistress, freeing the sisters from her domination once and for all. When the sisters nightly fail to actualize the murder in the ceremony, they concoct a diabolical plan to engineer the killing of their Madame, brutally blurring the lines of theatricality and reality.
Senior Brian Matthews, previously seen as Joe in Flagler’s hit production of the musical “Spitfire Grill,” will play Claire, while sophomore Sissy Hofaker, also seen in “Spitfire Grill” in the lead role of Percy, will portray her sister Solange. Senior Rebecca Woods, who will star as Pseudolus in Flagler’s spring main stage musical “A Funny Thing Happens On the Way to the Forum,” appears as Mistress. The play is directed by Flagler alumnus Joe Kemper.
The production features a new translation by Benedict Andrews and Andrew Upton. This version was originally commissioned and first produced at Sydney Theatre by Sydney Theatre Company on June 4, 2013, and starred Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett as Claire. The translation had its U.S. premiere the following year as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City Center, and again starred Blanchett as Claire and French actress Isabelle Huppert as Solange. A London production of the same version starred Emmy-winning actress Uzo Adubo as Solange and was performed at Trafalgar Studios in 2016. The Flagler College production will mark this version’s first U.S. production outside of New York City, and its regional premiere.
“The Maids” will be performed in Lewis Auditorium, 14 Granada St., Nov. 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission, available online at flagler.universitytickets.com. Tickets may also be purchased directly at the box office beginning Nov. 7, Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m., and one hour prior to curtain. Non-Flagler students may receive a discounted $5 ticket, and Flagler faculty, staff and students may obtain one free ticket directly at the box office. The box office phone number is 904-826-8600.
“The Maids” contains adult language, adult themes, violence, brief nudity and is not suitable for younger audience members.
For more information on “The Maids” or the Flagler College Department of Theatre Arts, please contact Andrea McCook, Theater Arts Department Chair at (904) 819-6401 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To visit Flagler Theatre productions, go to www.flagler.edu/theatre.