The Maids

by Jean Genet


The Maids

a Harrogate Theatre co-production

In Square Peg Theatre’s new production of Jean Genet’s seminal play we delve into the surreal world of Solange and Claire. Deeply resentful of their social position they plot to kill their beloved Madame, creating a fantastical world of revenge and sadomasochism that drives them to the brink of madness and murder.

Using Square Peg’s deft physical style the audience are propelled by a whirlwind of shifting perspectives to expose the paradox that we are all trapped by our freedom. A classic example of French absurdism, The Maids remains as chilling and relevant as ever.

The Maids premiered at Harrogate Theatre May 10th 2016.


Les Bonnes

The Maids is considered a classic of French literature. Written by Jean Genet in 1947 it is loosely based on the infamous sisters Christine and Léa Papin, who brutally murdered their employer and her daughter in Le Mans, France, in 1933.

Genet's writings often present highly stylized depictions of ritualistic struggles between outcasts of various kinds and their oppressors. Nowhere is this more evident than in The Maids. At the play's heart is the concept of otherness. The Maids' spiraling madness is driven by the frustration of being defined by their opposite. They are poor because the Madame is rich, they are miserable because the Madame is happy in love. To make matters worse they can't even escape their own image as it is reflected back at them like a bad smell. Their desire to redifine themselves drives them to dress up and play intricate games of role-play. The absurdity of this becomes terifyingly real as they begin to lose a grasp on their idenity and fully transform into the image of their obsession.


New Approaches

The Maids is Square Peg Theatre's first production which was not written or devised by the company. It was an exciting, challenging and immensely rewarding experience.

Costume design by Irene Jade.


SolangeKatie Robinson
ClaireOlivia Sweeney
MadameDeb Pugh

Creative Team

Directed by:Michael White
Set & Costume Design by:Irene Jade
Sound Design by:Owen Rafferty
Production ImagesGeorge Hill
Promotional Images by:David Oates
Produced by:Square Peg Theatre & Harrogate Theatre
Written by:Jean Genet
Translated by:Bernard Frechtman

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