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All you need to know

 

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Images

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

De Meiden © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

 

Presentation

  • Katie Mitchell gives Jean Genet's reflections a European scope by moving his famous postwar maids from Madame's Parisian apartment to the centre of today's Amsterdam, where they become Polish. When their mistress is away, Solange and Claire still play her role, one after the other, imitating her voice and mannerisms, mistreating her and each other... But if Madame wears the clothes and attributes of a powerful boss, there is a clear inversion — in Katie Mitchell's reading, the play becomes more a reflection about patriarchal exploitation than about the domination of some women over others. The deadly fate of the Papin sisters, which inspired Jean Genet's play, now echoes the situation of thousands of women, underpaid economic migrants who lead clandestine lives, crushed by those they have no choice but to depend on. After getting rid of Monsieur by having him thrown into prison, the two maids plot to make Madame, his transvestite partner, disappear as well. Their dangerous game, grippingly suspenseful, soothes their rage, up until the moment it becomes more concrete. Could they really go through with it?

     

    Katie Mitchell
    After studying literature, British artist Katie Mitchell began her career as an assistant in theatres, including the Royal Shakespeare Company. That's where she directed, upon returning in 1996 from a cycle of residences in Eastern European (and particularly Polish) theatres, Euripides's The Phoenician Women, which was enthusiastically received. Her company, Classics on a shoestring, then started creating ever more successful and acclaimed shows, reimagining classics from Greece, Britain, Scandinavia, and Russia and giving them new life through her sense of rhythm and use of music, dance, and video in her directions. Working with the most prestigious British and German theatres, Katie Mitchell has also led projects for television or the opera, and experimented with innovative forms, adapting novels for the theatre and collaborating with her contemporaries such as the writer Martin Crimp or the scientist Stephen Emmott, with whom she created Ten Billion in 2012. She first appeared in the line-up of the Festival d'Avignon in 2011 with Christine, based on August Strindberg's Miss Julie, then in 2012 with Ten Billion and Die Ringe des Saturn, and in 2013 with Journey through the Night, an adaptation of Friederike Mayröcker.

     

    Jean Genet
    A source of inspiration and fascination for all those who crossed his path — from Jean Cocteau and Jean-Paul Sartre in the 1940s to Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Lydie Dattas in the 1980s — Jean Genet sanctified the underworld. Abandoned by his mother, he never knew the identity of his father and turned his youth as a delinquent into the inspiration for his novels and poetry filled with thugs, mother figures and love interests turned into saints, and the most carnal debauchery. His plays betrayed his political considerations — the condition of inmates in prison, colonialism, class relations, Nazism, racism — but his engagement was clear throughout his life thanks to his often high-impact acts and articles (Violence and Brutality or Four Hours in Shatila).

  • Distribution

    Text Jean Genet / Translation Marcel Otten
    Direction Katie Mitchell
    Dramaturgy Peter van Kraaij / Musique Paul Clark
    Stage design Chloe Lamford
    Lights James Farncombe
    Sound Donato Wharton
    Costumes Wojciech Dziedzic
    Assistant director Tatiana Pratley

    With Thomas Cammaert, Marieke Heebink, Chris Nietvelt

    Production

    Production Toneelgroep Amsterdam
    With the support of Emmerique Granpré Moliere, and for the 71st edition of the Festival d'Avignon : Dutch Performing Arts Fund

    Les Bonnes by Jean Genet is published by Editions Gallimard.

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On tour

AND...

  • Exhibition
  • FIVE TRUTHS

    • Maison Jean Vilar
    • Running time 15 minutes