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SNEAK PEEK: Last week, actresses Jaimi Paige and Donnla Hughes (who play the titular maids, Claire and Solange, respectively) and director Stephanie Shroyer gathered in a downtown L.A. loft for a sizzling promotional photo shoot. ANW Artistic Director Geoff Elliott and Shroyer talk us through their favorite photos, and share a few tidbits about what to expect from this fall’s second play.
The Maids opens September 18.
Use “Go35” for a special $35 rate on shows Sept 18-Oct 2.
Director Stephanie Shroyer: These are some more ‘classic’ images of role play, as both women try on the role of Madame (Emily Kosloski, not pictured). In The Maids, I want to explore the idea that even the most kind and sensitive of us fall into role-playing. One treats waiters like waiters when expecting to be served in a restaurant. Seeing them as human beings becomes secondary to the roles of the agreed interaction. Yet, the waiters have lives as alive as those they serve. Madame’s “role” is as the master who treats, however kindly, these two maids as subservient. And yet, it was the accident of birth that put her in that position and them in theirs.
Stephanie Shroyer: This is a play about watching and being watched–that goes for the characters in the play, and everyone in the theatre. I’m most fascinated by the idea that Genet has written a dark and twisted power triangle and placed us, the audience, in the voyeuristic role of observer. We should know better than to watch what’s behind closed doors–but isn’t it a darkly funny human trait that we simply can’t resist putting our eye to the keyhole?
Geoff Elliott: The Maids demonstrates our commitment to the rarely-produced gem. It is the dark–and darkly funny–side of what is ‘beyond our wildest dreams’–the theme woven throughout our 25th Anniversary season productions. The Maids was certainly a genre-breaker when it was first produced in 1947, and it continues to be timely–especially the idea of playing out the fantasies and dreams of the people hurt by the more powerful in their lives. This image perfectly reflects that longing, defiance, and pain.
Geoff Elliott: Trapped in a master/servant relationship and dehumanized, the maids go through a variety of high emotional states—psychopathic, perhaps even sexual (as they employ these fantasies as a turn-on), and eventually suicidal. Here, we asked Donnla and Jaimi to start exploring both role-play, and expression of power through sexuality.
Pictured: Donnla Hughes and Jaimi Paige. Photos by Daniel Reichert.