Photo by Maria Baranova

 

In The Maids’ The Maids, director Kathryn Hamilton and Sister Sylvester company members have partnered with domestic household workers in New York City to devise a response to Jean Genet’s notorious 1947 one-act The Maids. Using Genet’s central device of maids role-playing as their employer to expose the subtle (and not-so-subtle) humiliations involved in domestic labor and the experience of immigrants, the performance invites contemporary domestics to use the theatrical space to stage experiences from their own lives. What emerges is a portrait of two separate New York Cities: a city that serves and a city that is served. One is for the increasingly affluent English speakers who can afford domestic workers, while the other—separated by language—is that of precarious laborers, often illegal immigrants, who serve them. In the waste and excess of this rich people’s playground, who cleans up the mess? 
 
Navigating the intersecting fault lines of labor, language and power, the show presents stories and experiences culled from the experiences of our collaborators in the their time as domestic workers, which are used to give depth and perspective to Genet’s celebration of ritual transgression through a “maids’ rebellion.” The show is performed in the native languages of the performers: English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

 

Director: Kathryn Hamilton

Dramaturg: Jeremy M. Barker

Design: Juan Betancurth

Video: Brian Oh

 

Featuring:

Laudicea Calixto, Rita Oliveira, Isabel Sanchez, Terence Mintern & Sofia Ortega Cordoba

 

---

REVIEWS FROM THE NOVEMBER 2014 PERFORMANCE

---

From Time Out New York:

“Director Kathryn Hamilton uses The Maids as a springboard into the most unstylish thing imaginable: the real world. The refreshing result (half-documentary, half-Genet) is chaotic, but it’s also productive and genuinely subversive.”

Read the whole review.

From Hyperallergic:

“The Maids’ The Maids accumulates...moments of aspiration and class-consciousness, only to pry at the edges of their innate absurdity.”

Read the whole review.

From The New York Times:

"Engaging and frustrating, imaginative and jumbled, original and derivative."

Read the whole review.

A Note on The Maids’ The Maids, from Jeremy Barker, Sister Sylvester Dramaturg

Read here.


 

---

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

---

 

Kathryn Hamilton (director) is a director and writer based in NYC. With her company Sister Sylvester she creates new work in theaters and site-specific spaces. Most recently Sister Sylvester created ‘Dead Behind These Eyes’ at Sing Sing Karaoke, NYC, and ’Werner Herzog on Wrestlemania’, a fictional documentary performance about climate scientists in Antarctica. Other productions include ‘Ventriloquist Circle’, performed in (and in response to) artist Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern; and ‘Hideouts for Time’ based on text from Moby Dick, at Center for Performance Research. Kathryn is also working with Studio 4 to create a new performance and residency space in Istanbul. In 2013 she worked as creative director on ‘Proust: A Nomadic Reading’ - a week long festival featuring site-specific readings of Swann’s Way for the French Embassy in New York, in celebration of the centennial of the first volume of In Search of Lost Time.


Jeremy M. Barker (dramaturg) is a contemporary performance critic and dramaturg based in New York. A contributing editor to Chance magazine and the former editor of Culturebot.org, his work has appeared online and in print in American Theater magazine, Theater magazine, Hyperallergic, and Bellyflop, among others. With Culturebot, he was commissioned to produce supplementary public programming around contemporary art by On the Boards (Seattle) and the Fusebox Festival (Austin), and has been a guest lecturer and/or speaker at the New School, CUNY, the Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, and elsewhere. In 2013-2014, he produced No Ideas But In Things, an experiment in embedded criticism with the Seattle performance group zoe | juniper, funded in part by a grant from the Princess Grace Foundation. Juan Betancurth (design) is a Colombian born artist who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Betancurth’s mixed media works use themes from his own experiences to depict scenes, be it literal or figurative, that have been of significance in his life. Family traditions, power and submission are among the most common threads in his work. These subjects come together as a symbolic language used to create a distinctive personal mythology that is dark, tender and satirical. In his most recent work he creates sculptures that can be categorized as devices that have a functional aspect. His interest lies in the interaction between human beings and his sculptures and the potential of a live being form becoming an utilitarian object. He creates spontaneous situations where this interaction gives form to his performance and video work.


Isabel Sanchez (performer) holds a BA in Drama studies with 1st Class Honors from the University of Kent (Madrid, Spain).Her credits include ‘This Is How I Don ́t Know How To Dance’ with SITI Conservatory, ‘Quieto Todo el Mundo' with Mirage Teatro, ‘Áyax’ and ‘Cock’ with Teatro del Noctámbulo, ‘Nobody’ with Cranamöur Butoh Dance Theater, ‘¿Para Qué?’ and ‘Eduard II’ with La Saragina de Stalker, ‘Katia Kabanová’ with Robert Carsen, ‘Puerta del Sol’ with Pérez de la Fuente Producciones, ‘Aquí No Paga Nadie' with Vorágine Producciones and ‘The Screens’ and ‘Make Like It ́s Yours’ with Sister Sylvester. She has performed in international festivals such as Mérida International Classic Theatre Festival, Cáceres International Classic Theatre Festival, Alcántara International Theatre Festival and Madrid Escena Contemporánea. For theatres such as Teatro Español de Madrid, Matadero de Madrid and Teatro Albéniz de Madrid. She holds two awards, Ceres Award and Teatro de Vegas Altas Award. In her work, Isabel looks for both experimental forms and classic forms. Her research also includes training and teaching the psycho physical training methods for actors Suzuki and Viewpoints, which she developes in Vértico (Madrid). Isabel is also part of the experimental music band Proyekto X.


Terence Mintern (performer) Terence spent 3 years in repertory @ Ridiculous Theatrical Company playing a wide range of featured roles –Various Off Broadway roles include Laertes in Hamlet and Broad Shoulders in Bicker At Richard Foremann’s Ontological Theatre he also had the pleasure of starring in Charles Mee’s Another Person is a Foreign Country, directed by Ann Bogart. He has been on the ground floor of the development of Sister Sylvester, an experimental theatre company, where he has been acting since 2008. Credits include One Fat Day in Babylon, The Box Man, Play America, The Screens, and a work in progress known as The Legacy Project. Terence recently had his directorial debut working with author Barbra Suter on her one person show – The Big Giant Bookstore