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 Post subject: The Maids - Theatrehaus Stuttgart
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2003 2:26 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article from The Times.

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ONE OF THE most erotically charged moments on a British stage this year is a nicotine fix. It happens in Yoshi Oida’s adaptation of Jean Genet’s 1946 play The Maids, a Theaterhaus Stuttgart production playing at London’s Barbican Centre from tonight.
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 Post subject: Re: The Maids - Theatrehaus Stuttgart
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 12:39 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The Guardian.

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Two black men side by side in adjoining prison cells. One lights a cigarette, takes out a small straw and inserts it through a crack in the cell wall. He takes a deep drag on the cigarette and blows the smoke through the straw. In the neighbouring cell, the other man sees the straw and the smoke, moves towards it, and takes the straw in his mouth. It is a moment so intimate, so unsettlingly erotic that it makes you feel like a peeping Tom. You want to avert your eyes.
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 Post subject: Re: The Maids - Theatrehaus Stuttgart
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:34 am 
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Location: London UK
Theaterhaus Stuttgart’s production of Jean Genet’s “The Maids” ( Die Zofen) incorporates a second Genet story taken from a short film called “Une Chant d’Amour” in which two prisoners communicate by blowing smoke through a crack between their cells. The two convicts are completely unalike in personality, the bolder of the two Koffi Kôkô, has a stern impassive face and the other, Ismael Ivo, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, has a sad almost haunted look, both are fearful of the guard (Ziya Azazi) who noisily patrols outside and spies on their quieter moments. They stand by their beds pensively aware of one another’s existence, but unable to express their feelings.

The mood changes and they whip off their white shirts, tying them around their waists in the manner of aprons. They are instantly transformed into The Maids, scheming and subservient by turns, their new adversary is the former prison guard now transformed into their employer, Madam, preposterously attired in pink and red skirts topped off by a red velvet train almost the length of the entire stage. Madam is a positive whirlwind, hurtling around the stage like a dervish, spinning and tumbling in front of the cowering maids and proving a frightening opponent for them, as they fail continuously to persuade her/him to eat one of the poisoned sweets they keep offering from what looks like a dogs feeding bowl.

The work ends as it began, back in the prison cell as the guard sticks the barrel of his gun into Kôkô’s mouth and the audience waits for the sound of the expected shot as the light dims, but nothing is heard except silence.

This is a very powerful piece, performed more with movement than actual dance. There is minimal dialogue and what little there is is spoken in a mixture of Portuguese, Turkish and Benin against the background of an atmospheric, mainly percussive score by João de Bruço. A German company performing a work by a French author, performed by Benin, Portuguese and Turkish protagonists directed by the Japanese Kazuko Watanabe makes this a thoroughly international achievement. Unusually it is performed not on one of the Barbicans main stages but rather in the backstage area of the theatre, probably to enhance the claustrophobic nature of the work. An evening that is both moving and unsettling.


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 Post subject: Re: The Maids - Theatrehaus Stuttgart
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 8:54 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The Maids
By Jann Parry for The Observer

The Madame figure from Genet's play, performed by Ziya Azizi, could be a grotesque Martha in a scarlet train. Ishmael Ivo and Koffi Koko, fine dancers both, are the two servants/prisoners. They play out their lethal fantasies with props charged with the magic of fetishes: red rubber gloves, hats, brush and pan. As Graham knew, witchcraft in a contemporary context can be compelling.

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