Synthetic Unlimited, continues its monthly series of sensational dinner theater at The Stonehouse in Nevada City with June’s “The Maids” by Jean Genet. This is the third full-length classic play by actors and theater artists of this start-up company. It runs from Thursday (June 20) through June 30. All performances offer drink specials, gourmet French cuisine and live jazz by Leta’s Blues before each production of this erotic French surrealist play.
“The Maids” is a one-act play written by French playwright Jean Genet in the 1940s and chosen and directed by Sam Haley-Hill, a recent graduate of the directing master of fine arts program at Brown University. The cast features the acting skills of Kate Tobie and Tinley Ireland as two sisters, who are maids in service to their capricious madame, played by Grace Fae. This dynamic, sensual play explores the boundaries of domination and submission within the maids’ elaborate role-playing and plots to kill their mistress.
Jean Genet based his play “The Maids” on a sensational murder by two sisters, Christine and Lea Papin, a lurid tale that dominated the French headlines in 1933. The two sister maids murdered their mistress and her daughter and were found in bed naked together by the police. French intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Lacan and Genet debated the case at the time, analyzing it as a symbol of class struggle. Genet’s play opened in Paris in 1947, and while it is not an exact retelling of the Papin sisters’ exploits, it does suggest and explore the issues involved in the true story. Genet’s play gives a sense that, although the sisters are singularly mad, their madness flows from a disruption in their identities that Madame’s grand presence and, indeed, all class stratification inflicts.
Genet was an activist interested in examining power, class, working conditions, and gender roles. “The Maids” is written for three actresses as a means to explore society’s creation of feminine roles in an intimate and dangerous setting.
The French menu by chef Sean Sullivan, newly returned from a six-week immersion journey into French cuisine in Paris, includes traditional dishes such as Croque Monsieur and French baguette sandwiches.
Synthetic Unlimited produces adult, classic theater plays by celebrated European and American playwrights at affordable prices, in hopes of entertaining and educating the cast and the community about good live theater, according to organizers. In July, Synthetic Unlimited presents Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.
Tickets are $15 or $10 for students, seniors and members. To purchase tickets call 1-888-95-SHOWS, go to BriarPatch Co-op, or visit http://syntheticunlimited.org.