New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019

The Maids Poster

The Maids

Closed August 16, 2014

A temple to narcissism, excess, and paranoia.

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Why See The Maids?

Cate Blanchett Stars in this highly anticipated production

Sydney Theatre Company presents its highly acclaimed adaptation of French playwright Jean Genet's The Maids as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert play Claire and Solange Papin, the two maids who indulge in sadomasochistic fantasies of murdering their employer, in this mesmerising production by visionary director Benedict Andrews. The press heaped praise upon the production's premiere run in Sydney, calling the play, with its large-scale video projections and its minimal 'glass box' set design, "a radiant production."

Based upon a true story, Jean Genet's play premiered in 1947, 13 years after the actual murder took place, an act he interpreted as compelling symbol of class relations. The production was first performed in 2013 in Australia by the Sydney Theatre Company, where Cate Blanchett served as the joint resident artistic director alongside her husband, Andrew Upton.

What is The Maids about?

Claire and Solange Papin are two French sisters who serve as maids to a wealthy and beautiful woman. Their relationship with their domineering employer (played by Elizabeth Debicki) is unhealthy, to say the least, as her treatment of her two employees consciously denigrates and belittles them. The effect this has on their psychological states is alarming. Each time 'Mistress' is away they take turns playing the role of their employer, acting out in great detail the various ways they would murder her, the line between fantasy and reality blurring more and more each time.

Did you know?

Playwright Jean Genet spent much of his young adulthood as a prostitute and thief - crimes he was given a lifetime jail sentence for. However Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and other prominent figures in French society pressed for his release, thanks to the tremendous impact his first novel and early writing had had upon their circles.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 6 August 2014


Not suitable for younger audiences

Run time

One hour and 45 minutes with no intermission

Cast and Creative


Cate Blanchett
Isabelle Huppert
Elizabeth Debicki


Written by Jean Genet
New English translation by Benedict Andrews and Andrew Upton
Directed by Benedict Andrews
Set and costume design by Alice Babidge
Lighting design by Nick Schlieper
Music by Oren Ambarchi
Video design by Sean Bacon
Sound design by Luke Smiles

What you thought

3 reviews, average rating: (1.3 Stars)

1.5 star rating

Allison: “Mostly exhausting with a slight uptick in the middle”

I think Cate Blanchett is brilliant. And she did a fine job in this production.... more

Anonymous: “dissappointed”

Saw the show on Friday nite which was opening nite- Cate was brilliant... more

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