Theater Review: Revolt of the Maids

As Andrei Scobarev will discover, there is more to directing than moving actors around a set.

May 1, 2010 22:32
1 minute read.
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Theater.58. (photo credit: Nathan Brusovany)

Revolt of the Maids
Based on ‘The Maids,’ by Jean Genet
Directed by Andrei Scobarev
Masterock Theater
April 26

The maids are the sisters Claire (Kinneret Arieli) and Solange (Adi Choresh), who have served Madame (Avital Ladner) since their youth. Night after night the sisters – while Madame is safely out – take turns playing her, the object being to goad, demean, humiliate and insult “the maid.” This is how the women express their hatred and their envy for the woman – and society, of which they can never be a part. Hatred turns murderous, but their plan to poison Madame fails, so the hate and frustration turn inwards with tragic results.

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The spare set (no credit given) is red and white – purity and blood. The women wear black, like a maids’ uniforms, and are for some reason, barefoot.

As Andrei Scobarev will discover, there is more to directing than moving actors around a set. Here there is no discernible understanding of what Genet’s play is about – which is the bitterness of exclusion enacted in a sterile, pointless ritual that never reaches resolution, hence its absurdity.

As Solange, Choresh comes closest to realizing the character, and her body-language is excellent, but she too, like Arieli and Ladner, speaks the text as though to be rid of the mountains of words as soon as possible. Moreover, the tonal quality needs work: Arieli especially veering between strident and more strident. Apart from one or two moments, nothing really happens dramatically, which makes the performance difficult to sit through. But this is a young director and young theater, so they can learn together.

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