Dark & Stormy Productions and Myron Frisch Present:


THE MAIDS
by Jean Genet
Translated by Bernard Frechtman
Directed by Sara Marsh
January 25 - February 17, 2018

Back Row: Jane Froiland, Sara Marsh. Front Row: Emily Bridges. MUA: Jen Santoro Rotty. Photo: Hilary Roberts. Design: Kevin Cannon.


Emily Bridges (Madame) and Sara Marsh (Solange) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.

"A number of details in this sure-handed production (directed by [Sara] Marsh) underscore the blurring of artifice and reality: The audience is arranged in a U shape around the bedroom, so we're essentially in the boudoir with the women. Light and sound cues are highlighted with jarring noises and clearly visible technicians. And, as the maids play their little mind games, they keep switching characters and even names. [...] The play is a chilly, intellectual piece of work, much more stylized than either the book or the movie, but the living, breathing actors give it a warmth and immediacy that feel extremely current. What if these smart funny women saw themselves as allies, I found myself thinking, instead of enemies? What if the real tragedy in 'The Maids' is not a murder that may or may not happen, but the fact that these characters waste their time bickering when they could be uniting to face the real enemies that entrap them all?"
- Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune


Jane Froiland (Claire) and Sara Marsh (Solange) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.

"[Sara] Marsh directs the production, having stepped in for original director Mel Day when a health issue arose just as rehearsals were starting. The inevitable strain of that unexpected transition doesn't show in this coherent, fluid production that benefits from Mary Shabatura's typically rich lighting design...The show is a tour de force (as they say across the pond) for Marsh, who's always good and has perhaps never been better than in the role of Solange, one that seems tailor-made for her gifts of supreme resolve and physical fearlessness. [Jane] Froiland captures Claire's vulnerability and irresolution, a weakness that plays out as she melts before the seeming generosity of a confident [Emily] Bridges."
- Jay Gabler, City Pages
 
Jane Froiland (Claire, bottom) and Sara Marsh (Solange, top) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan

 "Visually, the petite, dark-haired [Sara] Marsh and the half-a-head-taller, blonde [Jane] Froiland present a physical contrast that reinforces the different attitudes of their characters, even as those attitudes intersect and blur. The two performers have a fine sense of chemistry and trust, wrestling fearlessly through Annie Enneking's fight choreography. In the close confines of a second-floor performance space in Northeast Minneapolis' Grain Belt Warehouse, the sometimes-sisterly, sometimes-sexual energy between these two characters is palpable."
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press


Emily Bridges (Madame) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.

"Dark & Stormy’s captivating revival is artfully served by Mary Shabatura’s lighting and C. Andrew Mayer’s sound design. [...] Director [Sara] Marsh renders Genet’s text with suitably brisk vitality and respect for language [...] and a clear understanding of the role play the two maids enact through much of the text...Claire, as played by Jane Froiland, and Solange, as played by director Marsh, deftly maneuver through the ricochet interplay with often playful vibrancy, giving an ironic twist to the murder plot expressed in the subtext. Emily Bridges’s Madame contrasts the pair with disarming vulnerability. She resists stereotypes of an unlikable snobbish rich lady or a saucy femme fatale spoiled by her rich gangster lover. It’s an effective choice as Bridges makes us sympathetic to Madame because she is trapped in her relationship with a serious criminal while unwittingly being targeted for death by her supposedly loyal maids. It provides a moral compass for how the audience should reflect on what’s being plotted against her."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine


Sara Marsh (Solange, top) and Jane Froiland (Claire, bottom) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan
   
"'The Maids' features soaring performances by Sara Marsh and Jane Froiland. (Emily Bridges also has a brief but forceful turn in the small supporting role of The Madame.) These rapturous, powerful performances should not be missed. If you like great acting, you've got to see it. [...] Marsh's direction is solid, particularly in the way she was able to generate such superb performances. [...] The design elements are all remarkably good - especially the costumes [by Lisa Jones], which evoke an atmosphere of luxury and faint exhibitionism. And I cannot emphasize enough the genius in the performances: Marsh and Froiland offer the best acting I've seen in a year of theater-going."
- Kit Bix, Minnesota Playlist
 
Emily Bridges (Madame) and Jane Froiland (Claire) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan
 
"...the excellent performances of this cast of strong women. Jane Froiland is convincing as both the pretend Madame, and the less powerful sister Claire. Sara Marsh (who also directs) is particularly strong in Solange's final monologue that covers the full gamut of emotions. Emily Bridges (yes, of The Bridges) has too little stage time as the Madame, floating in wearing a beautiful green dress (costume design by Lisa Jones) and almost blinding bling, like a summer breeze that's gone too soon."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

Jane Froiland (Claire) and Sara Marsh (Solange) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan

"The space is intimate. The actors are rarely more than 15 feet away. Plays here are always about the performances. The rarely performed 1947 drama The Maids is breathless, dreamily vicious...displays a dark and wondrous beauty [...] ([Sara] Marsh directs, and her grasp of this...not-easy material is excellent). [...] Can I recommend The Maids? The production is funny...The performances are first rate...the answer is yes."
- John Olive, How Was The Show?

Sara Marsh (Solange) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan



DARK & STORMY PRODUCTIONS
named
BEST THEATER OF 2016
by City Pages!


"How did tiny upstart Dark & Stormy take the prize? It happened through the dedication of a handful of talented and committed artists who want the very best on stage... Artistic director Sara Marsh has, over the course of a few years, crafted a must-attend company out of a simple desire to put on great shows with great acting."

From L: Sara Marsh & Sally Wingert in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.



Dark & Stormy Productions honored by critics in 2015!

 
Extremities 
 by William Mastrosimone
named a Top Ten Production of 2015 by Rohan Preston of the Star Tribune 
and Ed Huyck of City Pages!


From L: James Rodríguez, Emily Bridges, Sara Marsh, & Tracey Maloney in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"Sara Marsh is the founder of this nimble company and the star of most of its shows, and for good reason. She was riveting as a would-be rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker in Mel Day's tense and taut production."
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune


"Dark & Stormy brought audiences into a living room where a young woman fought off her attacker -- and was then forced to decide whether he lived or died. Compelling acting and directing meant we also lived and died with every twist.
- Ed Huyck, City Pages

 
Extremities  
honored in Lavender Magazine's 
Best of 2015 in Theater!


"Best Stage Combat Direction: Annie Enneking, Extremities, Dark & Stormy Productions; Henry IV, Part I, 10,000 Things Theater; The Jungle Book, Children's Theatre Company"
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine  
 
Sara Marsh & James Rodríguez in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"Crème de la crème performances: Sara Marsh, Extremities, Dark & Stormy Productions"
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine
 

James Rodríguez and Sara Marsh in Extremities. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp.


The Hothouse
by Harold Pinter
named Best Production of 2014-2015 by Sophie Kerman of Minnesota Playlist!

Clockwise from L: John Catron, Bill McCallum, Mark Benninghofen, Sara Marsh, Robert Dorfman. Not pictured: Bruce Bohne. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"This is a “Best of” article, so I realize I need to pick something that was actually the best: I’m giving this one to Dark & Stormy’s The Hothouse...Of all of the points that stood out about the shows I mentioned above, The Hothouse had it all for me this year."


  

Dark & Stormy Productions honored by critics in 2014!


Clockwise from L: Bill McCallum, John Catron, Mark Benninghofen, Sara Marsh , and Robert Dorfman. Not pictured: Bruce Bohne. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp; design by Kevin Cannon.

The Hothouse
by Harold Pinter
Directed by Benjamin McGovern
named a Top Production of 2014 by Ed Huyck of the City Pages!

Clockwise from L: Bill McCallum, John Catron, Mark Benninghofen, Sara Marsh, Robert Dorfman. Not pictured: Bruce Bohne. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"Nothing says Christmas like Harold Pinter and torture, especially when it comes wrapped up with a great cast, direction, and concept that saw the show played out in an echoing atrium."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages



Dark & Stormy Productions honored by critics in 2013!

 

 


 

Speed-the-Plow named a Top Ten Production of 2013 by the Star Tribune:


"Director Ben McGovern teamed with actors Sara Marsh, Bill McCallum and Kris L. Nelson to make David Mamet's 'Speed-the-Plow' a savagely arresting treat in a found space." 
- Rohan Preston 



The Receptionist named a Top Ten Production of 2013 by City Pages:

 
Sally Wingert in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"Sally Wingert led a talented four-actor cast through Adam Bock's dark-as-midnight workplace comedy. The experience was intensified by the found location — a recently vacated downtown office space — that seemed to be haunted by the true nature of the Northeast Office's work."
- Ed Huyck

Harry Waters Jr. in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
 

"New theater company Dark & Stormy Productions is really hitting their stride; they've become one of those theater companies I rely on to never let me down. Their fourth production in just under two years continues their tradition of short, intense, real, small-cast, smartly written plays in unusual locations."
 - Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

  

  From Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston's feature on Dark & Stormy Productions:

 

"[Speed-the-Plow], which starred Guthrie regulars Kris Nelson and Bill McCallum alongside company founder Sara Marsh, gave a gripping, spittle-laced experience. The drama...was more evidence that small theaters are a big part of what makes the performing arts scene special."
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

 

  Read the full article on the Twin Cities' small theaters here!





"Dark & Stormy is a newish company that's come screaming out of the gate with a series of terrifically cast shows, professionally produced and expertly marketed...I've seen three out of four shows...[and] I hope Dark & Stormy continues their level of professionalism and rock-star casting."
- Dominic Orlando, Minnesota Playlist




*Member, Actors' Equity Association
Member, Stage Directors & Choreographers Society