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A French treat for stage lovers

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Jean Genet
Jean Genet

Theatre lovers in the Capital have a delightful treat in store for them this week. The late French theatre genius Jean Genet's play titled "The Maids", organised jointly by the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise de Delhi, will be staged at 72 Lodhi Estate on Friday.

Being staged to mark the 20th death anniversary of Genet, the play will be directed by Georges Lavaudant -- the director of Theatre de l'Odeon in Paris -- and stars him along with French actor Astrid Bas and Ikhlaque Khan from Mumbai. It has been inspired by the programme ``One Actor-One Author" of the Association Francaise D'Action Artistique, in which one French actor reads the theatrical text in his mother-tongue while his foreign counterpart reads lines in his own language.

Exploring the love-hate relationships of those in servitude feel for those who hold their figurative chains, "The Maids" has also drawn inspiration from a famous crime incident that took place in provincial France of the 1930's in which two servants had murdered their mistress.

In the "The Maids", Genet portrays a ritualistic act of two maids who take turns acting as madam, foul-mouthing each other but the games take a more sinister turn when the sisters become consumed by their own dark fantasies. It was first staged way back in 1947.

Genet's first and more renowned play reflects his obsession with the illusory, perverse and grotesque elements of human experience as well as his predilection for the world of the isolated and the despairing outcast.

This coming Thursday, a film of Georges Lavaudant's play "Un Fil A La Patte" will be screened at the same venue. -- Madhur Tankha

-- Madhur Tankha

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