Wednesday, 19 December 2012

More Maids

More details have emerged from the Citizens about their production of Genet's The Maids. Although Martin Crimp has translated it - he emerged at about the same time as the 1990s neo-brutalists in British theatre - I was hoping that it would be in French. Given the amount of role reversal, gender play and mayhem going on, I'd have as much chance as understanding it, and the beauties of a Romance language would add to its dark erotic charm.

Director Stewart Laing, who has done time with Scottish Opera as well as having his own Untitled Projects, has announced that he will be following Genet's instructions and casting men as the maids, and has added a live rock soundtrack. 

Genet has, according to the press release, inspired artists as diverse as Patti Smith and David Bowie (yeah, Jean Genie, we get it, Dave). Back in the days when rock'n'roll was considered dangerous, it made sense for Genet to be an inspiration - he championed not only the outsider, but celebrated an inverted religion that transferred sanctity onto the criminal. Unlike the neo-brutalists, Genet's use of violence wasn't the most shocking aspect in his scripts - for all her brilliance, Sarah Kane still had the violence being committed by nasty people. Rather, it is the way that brutality becomes aspirational. When Lou Reed still had an edge, he'd happily sing about BDSM in a way that didn't titillate but embraced.

On musical direction duties, Laing has enlisted Scott Paterson, out of Sons and Daughters. The long running Australian TV series was a popular choice for slackers who... sorry, wrong Wikipedia entry. The Glasgow band ("conceived while on tour with Arab Strap," says Wikipedia, perhaps not quite getting the sex-toy related joke) had an edge of early Nick Cave to their live sets, with Paterson's guitar drawing a line between the crisp sound of new wave and a rougher, more 1950s rock'n'roll raucousness. They promise versions of songs by Metallic, David Bowie (Ladbrokes let me put a fiver down on it being Jean Genie) and The Velvet Underground (for the accumulator, I went for Venus in Furs). 

The Maids
By Jean Genet
In a translation by Martin Crimp
17 Jan – 2 Feb 2013

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