Solange and Claire are two sisters serving as maids in the house of Madame. Envious of her beauty and wealth they reenact Madame, trying her dresses and jewellery on, imitating her manner to speak and move – and get carried away with their game: anonymously they cast aspersions on Monsieur, the lover of Madam, denouncing him to the police, and decide to kill the mistress, blaming all their misfortunes on this exalted woman, who had hardly ever notices them
Roman Viktyuk staged the play following the wish of the playwright Jean Genet that all the roles ought to be performed by men and created a powerful theatre ritual investigating eternal mysteries of the human soul. The Maids as well as other works of the author raise the issues of love and crime, beauty and turpitude, individual freedom coming up against society, finally rejecting its conventionalities.
The Maids has been staged by Roman Viktyuk three times (1988, 1992 and 2006) and became one of the top examples of his unique theatre method and aesthetique. The performance is a synthesis of drama, choreography and music where every gesture, every turn of the body and every intonation amplify expressiveness of the image. The accuracy of the set, established in the style of Art Nouveau, the complicated make-up of the actors, referring to the theatre of kabuki, and the costumes that are underlining the expressiveness of the actors’ bodies, – all add to the artistic perfection and symbolic meanings of The Maids.
Set and costumes
Dramatis personae & performers