“The Maids” returns to stage at Tehran theater 

December 27, 2021 - 18:34

TEHRAN – “The Maids”, a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet, is on stage at Tehran’s Divare Chaharom Theater.

A troupe led by director Maryam Shirazi has been rehearsing over the past few months to be one of the groups that would be able to obtain officials’ approval to perform after the government eased pandemic curbs.

The first performance was held on Saturday evening and they will continue until December 31.

Negar Afrashteh, Yeganeh Malekmohammadi, Mohammad Javadi, Nahid Mohammadi, Farhad Sharifi and Mahan Ebdati are the member of the cast.

Solange and Claire are two housemaids who construct elaborate sadomasochistic rituals when their mistress (Madame) is away. 

The focus of their role-playing is the murder of Madame and they take turns portraying both sides of the power divide. Their deliberate pace and devotion to detail guarantees that they always fail to actualize their fantasies by ceremoniously "killing" Madame at the ritual's dénouement.

It was first performed at the Théâtre de l’Athénée in Paris in a production that opened on April 17, 1947, which Louis Jouvet directed.

The play has been revived in France, England and the United States on multiple occasions, sometimes with men playing the roles of the maids.

A TV dramatization Stuepigerne was done by Danish national broadcaster Danmarks Radio in 1962. A film adaptation of the play was released in 1974. Swedish composer Peter Bengtson adapted the play in 1994 for a chamber opera.

Genet loosely based his play on the infamous sisters Christine and Léa Papin, who brutally murdered their employer and her daughter in Le Mans, France, in 1933.

Translated into Persian by Farzaneh Sokuti, the play has also been performed by several Iranian groups. One of the troupes performed the play with director Ali-Akbar Alizadeh at Tehran’s Molavi Theater in November 2018.

Reyhaneh Nabian directed the play with her group Alma in May 2016 at Tehran’s Da Theater.

Director Maryam Malmir also staged “The Papin Sisters” based on the play at the Entezami Hall of the Iran Artists Forum in Tehran in July 2016.

Photo: A poster for “The Maids”, which is on stage at Divare Chaharom Theater, Tehran. 


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