The Maids at Common Ground | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

The Maids at Common Ground 

Mary Guthrie as Claire and Amanda Hahn as Solange in Common Ground Theatre's The Maids

Photo by Rachel Klem

Mary Guthrie as Claire and Amanda Hahn as Solange in Common Ground Theatre's The Maids

Jean Genet's dark classic, The Maids, is a twisted, psychosexual critique of class—and a perversely perfect accompaniment, in its way, for the current conversation on increasing economic disparity in the United States.

Genet based his drama on the exploits of Lea and Christine Papin, servant sisters who murdered Léonie and Genevieve Lancelin in France in 1933. According to historical accounts, the Papins apparently had a sexual relationship with one another; in Genet's sadomasochistic interpretation of that relationship, one sister and then the other impersonates the hated Madame of the house—illustrating the pattern by which victims can internalize and then become abusers themselves.

Though Genet intended the work to be performed by men, director Rachel Klem opts in this Small Series production for an all-female cast. There's a hypnotic chemistry between Mary Guthrie and Amanda Hahn as sisters Claire and Solange as they lay hands on Genet's text and one another. Klem modulates the tensions throughout the work, nimbly directing these characters along the precipice of madness until they go over it. Though Sheryl Scott seems a bit young as their Madame, her vanity, self-absorption and the shallowness of her solicitude are all carefully sculpted.

The proverbial one percent owe it to themselves to observe what happens when people are allowed to view luxury, but are never permitted to realize it for themselves. The rest of us can revel in a classic theatrical gauntlet, run well, over dangerous terrain.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Rotten in denmark...."

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

This looks wonderful! I cant wait until it goes on the road so we can see it in California!

by Michelle Nogales on Pioneering African-American Sci-Fi Author Octavia Butler’s Empathy and Foresight Take the Stage in Parable of the Sower (Theater)

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

This looks wonderful! I cant wait until it goes on the road so we can see it in California!

by Michelle Nogales on Pioneering African-American Sci-Fi Author Octavia Butler’s Empathy and Foresight Take the Stage in Parable of the Sower (Theater)

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation