The Maids

By Jean Genet

Translated by Bernard Frechtman

Directed by Sara Marsh

Starring (in order of appearance): Jane Froiland* (Claire), Sara Marsh* (Solange), and Emily Bridges* (The Madame)

Presented in production with Myron Frisch at Artspace’s Grain Belt Warehouse

Creative team: Rachael Rhoades* (Stage Manager), Mary Shabatura (Lighting Designer), Lisa Jones (Costume Designer), C Andrew Mayer (Sound Designer), Katie Phillips (Properties Designer), Michael James (Technical Director), Michaela Johnson (Assistant Director), Ryan Underbakke (Directing Consultant)

Production Photos: Rich Ryan

"A number of details in this sure-handed production (directed by Marsh) underscore the blurring of artifice and reality: The audience in 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 make it 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

"Marsh directs the production, having stepped 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 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. Froiland captures Claire's vulnerability, a weakness that plays out as she melts before the seeming generosity of a confident Bridges."
 Jay Gabler, City Pages

"Visually, the petite, dark-haired Marsh, and the half-a-head-taller, blonde 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 the Northeast Minneapolis' Grain Belt Warehouse, the sometimes-sisterly, sometimes-sexual energy between these two characters is palpable."
— Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press

"Dark & Stormy's captivating revival is artfully served by Mary Shabatura's lighting and C. Andrew Mayer's sound design. [...] Director Marsh renders Genet's text with suitably brisk vitality…and a clear understanding of the role play the two maids enact […] Claire, as played by Jane Froiland, and Solange, as played by director Marsh, deftly maneuver through the ricochet interplay...Emily Bridges' Madame contrasts the pair with disarming vulnerability. She resists the stereotypes of an unlikeable 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...and provides a moral compass for how the audience should reflect on what's being plotted against her."
 John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

"'The Maids' features soaring performances by Sara Marsh and Jane Froiland. Emily Bridges also has a brief but forceful turn in the 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 directing 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

"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

Photo: Hilary Roberts | MUA: Jen Santoro Rotty | Design: Kevin Cannon

Photo: Hilary Roberts | MUA: Jen Santoro Rotty | Design: Kevin Cannon

*Member, Actors’ Equity Association