by Jean Genet
English translation by Bernard Frechtman
directed by Jesse Berger
set design / Dane Laffrey
costume design / Sara Jean Tosetti
lighting design / Peter West
sound design / Brandon Walcott
Premiered March 6, 2012 // Red Bull Theatre // New York
**2012 American Theatre Wing Henry Hewes Design Award Nomination for Outstanding Set Design**
"You can practically inhale the aroma of the gladiouluses flooding the plush bedroom where Jean Genet's eerie psychodrama "The Maids" is set...The audience is arranged in a few tight rows on three sides of the boudoir upholstered in blood-red fabric. Peek-a-boo holes are cut in the walls of the bedroom, exquisitely designed by Dane Laffrey, and as you observe the strange ritual being enacted by a pair of seriously unhinged domestics, you can also take in the spectators opposite, complicit voyeurs like yourself."
-Charles Isherwood / NEW YORK TIMES
"Dane Laffrey's set, a gorgeous life-sized diorama around which the audience sits like literal flies on the wall, is a work of art..."
-Nat Cassidy / NYTHEATRE.COM
"Director Jesse Berger and set designer Dane Laffrey have placed the audience in banks on either side of the enclosed, gauntlet-like set, where we peer at the actors - and each other - through what feels like an interrogation room's one-way glass."
-Scott Brown / NEW YORK MAGAZINE
"The audience is ranged along both sides of the set, making us voyeurs peering through long, horizontal bedroom windows at Dane Laffrey's plush, elegant, yet claustrophobic set."
-Jennifer Farrar / ASSOCIATED PRESS
"It all starts with the set. In Berger and scenic designer Dane Laffrey's concept, Madame's bedroom is a box-like boudoir plopped in the middle of the venue, with the audience surrounding it on all four sides. The cast members move about as if in a claustrophobic hothouse."
-Elisabeth Vincentelli / NEW YORK POST
"The action for this energetic revival unfolds within the confines of a plywood cube containing an ornate, mirror-dotted, incarnadine boudoir into which the audience peers from four sides. It's a handsome and rather ingenious creation from set designer Dane Laffrey..."
-Andy Probst / BACKSTAGE
"On Dane Laffrey's masterfully conceived set - as beautifully ornate as it is confining - the women wile away their days creating elaborate fantasies where they alternate stepping into the shoes of their demanding mistress..."
-Chris Kompaneck / THEATREMANIA
"On a technical level the show is a triumph. The set by Dane Laffrey, is constructed in the round (or should I say, in the rectangle) with Madame's lavish, flower-bedecked bedroom flanked on all four sides by audience members who peep in through "windows" in the wall. Simply and effectively, this emphasizes the undercurrents of the show. It's great fun to see the maids tussling on the bed while audience members on the side lean over to peep down at them."
-Michael Giltz / THE HUFFINGTON POST
"In Jesse Berger's intensely intimate revival for Red Bull Theater, a company devoted to pulse-popping classics, the audience peers through all four sides of Dane Laffrey's set, a narrow room with plush red walls. The metatheatrical layering of Genet's script withstands this voyeuristic scrutiny surprisingly well, and as THE MAIDS progresses - investigating such paradoxical themes as the power of submission, the nobility of rebellion and the beauty of crime - it gains force and crime-novel suspense."
-Adam Feldman / TIME OUT NEW YORK
"The production showcases a brilliantly conceived set design from Dane Laffrey that uses only a fraction of the St. Clements space...Spectators look into a room that is simultaneously elegant and tacky - and more than a little claustrophobic. Additionally, the awareness of fellow audience members who can easily be seen in this in-the-round configuration heightens the sense of theatricality that is woven into the fabric of Genet's play."
-Dan Bacalzo / THEATREMANIA