INTAR presents the world premiere of Jose Rivera's take on Jean Genet's classic, reset on Vieques Island on the eve of the U.S. military's 1941 invasion. More…
Two maids, sisters Monique and Yvette, dream of liberating the island—and themselves—from La Doña, mistress of the largest sugar plantation on Vieques. Rituals are enacted, roles are reversed, identities become fluid, bombs fall, poison is consumed, genders collide, and a psycho-sexual drama is unleashed as the trio struggles with the meaning of power, sisterhood, and freedom. Adapted by Oscar-nominated writer Jose Rivera ('The Motorcycle Diaries').
"If your theatrical preferences include sweat, exalted language, spanks, and Daddy Yankee dance breaks, look no further than One-Eighth Theaterʼs production...An ensemble of four performers alternate the roles of Monique and Yvette, and the result is mesmerizing...Irizarryʼs trademark movement punctuates Riveraʼs language in all the right ways. Further compliments to the design team for concocting a nightmarish Vieques of the mind...'The Maids' is by turns whimsical and dangerous." Full Review
"There’s a particular urgency to the sisters’ yearning for freedom in Mr. Rivera’s adaptation. That’s partly to do with his chosen location, an island that’s a colonialist pawn, and also with his use of contemporary language...The production’s single misstep comes deep in the performance, when Mr. Irizarry introduces a third Monique (David Dempsey) to deliver her big monologue...It does throw one thing into stark relief, though: how vital and gorgeous the rest of this production is." Full Review
"If the audience is confused, and is unable to keep track of who exactly is playing who at a given moment, and why, it hardly matters. It's not as though the play loses any clarity. Perhaps it even gains it, for despite the role switching, Rivera's command of compelling modern dialogue grounds this adaptation more thoroughly in reality than the original...One-Eighth's suitably youthful, vital production of this new work is mature in its emotional depth, but explosive in its physicality." Full Review
"With earthiness, bombast, and local color, Rivera’s dialogue and concept is faithful to Genet’s harshly comic view of conventional societal values. This fidelity includes the play’s repetitiveness that sometimes becomes wearying during its one hour and 45 minute length without an intermission...Irizarry also directed the production and it’s a blaze of theatricality. Besides the rich performances to which he has guided the actors, the presentation is dynamically enacted." Full Review
"There is a delirious, giddy, physical life to the show. Even when the plot or relationships between characters are not exactly clear, the spirited performers give us captivating imagery to drink up...There’s a fatalism to all of this whimsy...While the maids and Puerto Rico itself may struggle to find autonomy and actualization, Rivera ensures that their humanity will not be quashed without a fight." Full Review
"Dual triple casting is a way for Irizarry to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to playing with this idea, but the conceptually provocative decision ultimately feels more like a distraction from, rather than a vital engagement of, Rivera's powerful adaptation...When Butler Rivera and Williams occupy the stage, it's like we have a window onto a production from a parallel universe, one that is more traditional...It's hard not to wish that was the production we actually had all along." Full Review
"Smothered as the production is in such self-indulgent inventiveness, well-done as it is, it’s nearly impossible to follow which maid is which or what the hell is happening to anyone; I pity those, like my companion, who’ve never seen or read 'The Maids.' Unable to make heads or tails of it, they’re likely to feel as oppressed by the production as the maids are by their mistress. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way out." Full Review
"'Awry' is the operative word for this piece. Director Irizarry has a flare for three-ring circus chaos and outrageous staging. He does big things in a very small space, using the audience as props and extras...The only moments when Genet’s vision shines through are when Laura Butler Rivera and Folami Williams command the stage. These excellent actresses convey the pain and loneliness that both drive and doom these lost maids. The rest is sound and fury signifying not a heck of a lot." Full Review
See it if you want to experience a committed ensemble present master playwright José Rivera's wild & richly troubling elaboration of Genet's classic
Don't see it if being REALLY close to loud, sweaty, physically exuberant actors makes you uncomfortable; if you want to see Genet's play done "straight"
See it if you like frontal, physical, political performances! This is a new Puerto Rican adaptation of a classic post WWII French play.
Don't see it if you don't like irreverent comedy, existentialism, class warfare, profanity, actors jumping off the walls.
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