In Jean Genet’s provocative play The Maids, two sisters, Claire and Solange, struggle to believe their existence as maids is anything but sub-human. Each night they enact a secret revenge fantasy while Madame is away, but the game leaves them unsatisfied. When an attempt to destroy Madame’s love affair goes awry, their hope for transcendence grows increasingly slim. A desperate hunger for dignity drives their sadistic ritual to new depths.
Outliers Theatre Co. is proud to debut an intimate production of The Maids, from July 28 to August 7, 2016 at the Access Theatre (380 Broadway, 4th Floor) directed by Ben Gunderson (Les Misérables – Broadway/Nat’l Tour). Gunderson first fell in love with the play as a student at North Carolina School of the Arts.
“Growing up gay in North Dakota was growing up in a forest of secrecy,” he says. “Shame was my second language, compliance and obfuscation my actions. My full self was expressed only in the freedom of private fantasy – and I believed that this fantasy was ‘wrong’.
“Genet’s language, his puzzles and his blasphemies, struck at my Midwestern heart. His characters worship deviance, revel in smut and rage, and are beautified by their darkness. Their resistance amplifies their dignity. Genet became a beacon for me; gave me permission to integrate my darkness and believe that it is a necessary component of my path toward dignity.
“The Maids feels immediately relevant in our climate of class warfare and complex gender dynamics, but these issues are only stars in the constellation. The beauty of theatre is the myriad associations born in the spectators, and I wish for our production to ignite unexpected relevances within you.”
The Maids team includes:
Pooya Mohseni (Madame). Mohseni is a trans Iranian/American actor. She has appeared onstage in Death of a Persian Prince as part of the New York Midtown International Theatre Festival and You Are Now the Owner of This Suitcase with Theater 167. Mohseni is a recurring guest star on the new USA Network drama Falling Water premiering Fall 2016 and appeared as a co-star on the CBS program Madam Secretary, directed by Eric Stoltz. She is proud graduate of the esteemed Maggie Flanigan Studio.
James Patrick Nelson (Solange). Nelson has worked alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard in Three Sisters at Classic Stage Company, and is the recipient of two Innovative Theater Award nominations for Old Familiar Faces at NYC Fringe. Nelson toured with the National Players and is a graduate of Boston University. Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
William Valles (Claire). Valles is making his NYC debut with Outliers after recently graduating from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. UNCSA credits include The Drowsy Chaperone and A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed with the North Carolina Symphony. Valles danced with Heritage Ballet and has studied with Trinity Repertory Company.
Ben Gunderson (Director). Gunderson recently directed skinny crazy small at TheaterLab NYC, movement directed Les Miserables Tokyo, and participated in XV ISTA led by Eugenio Barba of Odin Teatret. As an actor, Gunderson most recently appeared in the Broadway company of Les Miserables. He is the recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation scholarship and a proud graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
More about Outliers Theatre Co:
Outliers Theatre Co. was founded in May 2016 by Artistic Director Ben Gunderson (Les Misérables – Bway/Nat’l Tour) with the help of Managing Director Sylvie Mae Baldwin (skinny crazy small – TheaterLab NYC). Their mission is to entertain and engage audiences with programming built around Immediacy, Community and Refusal.