A summary description of French playwright Jean Genet's The Maids would no doubt focus on the seething class resentment that drives the work's two primary characters to contemplate atrocious acts of vengeance on their employers. The work was, after all, inspired by a particularly nasty murder committed by two domestic servants (sisters, as it were) against their socially elevated victims (a madame and her daughter). Such a surface synopsis, however, ultimately proves superficial. Like a shattered mirror, The Maids reflects a distorted perception of reality, suggesting that conceptions of identity are largely illusionary. In the context of Genet's daring narrative, viewers are challenged to question preconceived definitions of character. Toward that purpose, TheGonzoGroupTheatre will be enacting Genet's singular vision with male performers inhabiting roles that our social conventions would typically relegate to women. The gender-bending isn't intended for the sake of novelty or shock, but to actively subvert social expectations and reconsider our collective notions of identity. Breaking from the lighthearted frivolities of stereotypical summer theater, The Maids offers an ambitious exploration of self and an intriguing proposition of a shared persona.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 16. Continues through June 25, 2011