Pimping the Maids


Sadomasochism, homosexual, incest.

Moderately coherent thoughts:

‘Pimping the Maids’ was a multi-media exploration of Jean Genet’s play ‘The Maids.’

In the original play two sisters, Claire and Solange take turns in role playing the brutal murder of their mistress. It’s based on a real story of the Papin sisters; two French maids who murdered their employer in 1933. In ‘Pimping the Maids,’ the audience was shown a selection from a material from a work-in-progress.

To be honest, it was quite weird. But that’s good, to me the original play was weird. The whole concept is weird and it’s even weirder when you read about the Papin sisters. It took place in the UCC Drama lab, which is where I expect weird experimental things to go down.

My favourite part was the soundscape. It was a combination of electronic sounds and strings being used in various ways. There was a man sitting to the side of the stage bowing, winding and tapping strings and playing pre-recorded speeches and (once) an opera aria. I found his goings-on pretty fascinating. I spotted what looked like a tiny hammered dulcimer that had a picture of the creepy Papin sisters glued to it.

I REALLY LIKED how they tied in the sense of tension throughout the different media. Over the drama lab’s fireplace (yes, fireplace), there was a projected looped video of “Madame” looking down over the audience and actors sternly, portrait-style. The strings in the soundscape played a major part in the creation of tension. At one point the sound guy played the sound of wire strings being tightened, so that the audience is wondering when breaking-point is going to be reached.

Another example of the tension was in what I would like to call “the toilet roll scene.” Madame stands on a stereo-speaker/pedestal over the two maids, who unroll and pull sheets of toilet roll. The more submissive maid seems able to break off the paper and bend the sheets, while the more frustrated, dominant maid pulls the sheets taught until they break. All the while a high-pitched whirring noise plays over the rest of the soundscape.

There was some spitting that I’d really rather not think about. But there was some amazing movement by the “Madame.”

One thought on “Pimping the Maids

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