Director Ruth Levin and producer Tammy-Anne Fortuin are bringing their production of The Maids, starring an all-South African, all-female cast, to the Cape Town City Hall from 31 January to 23 February, 2011.
Written in 1947 by a literary genius and a criminal, Jean Genet, this is a thought-provoking, timeless thriller and a striking portrayal of how as individuals, and indeed a society, view our lives in terms of what we do rather than who we are.
"I fell in love with The Maids first for its writing, which is extraordinary, and then for its depiction of a delicate theme that sits close to my heart: self-value," said Ruth Levin, director.
A true incident in Paris
Inspired by a true incident in Paris, the script takes a look into the desperate relationships of two sisters and their madame. With their skewered self-perceptions they see no way out of their current way of living - so much so that they begin to play with the fantasy of murder.
"On the surface the story unfolds as two sisters' play out the relationship with their madame, taking turns to dress up in her clothing. As we travel deeper into the play one sees what happens when people, for too long, are locked into a situation that is not good for them," commented Levin.
With only 18 scheduled performances, this play stars award-winning actresses Denise Newman and Susan Danford, and introduces newcomer Tamryn Spiers.
In a much celebrated return to the theatre, Newman takes the lead role of Solange - a character unlike any other she has played in her career.
Susan Danford is cast in the role of The Madame, with her presence and detailed craft, while Tamryn Spiers plays Claire, Solange's little sister.
Tammy-Anne Fortuin, known to us as the presenter and producer of All Access, brings to the theatre a talented hand and eye.
The revival of the City Hall
The stage for the play is one of the city's most iconic buildings. Cape Town City Hall will be brought to life once more as it acts as an integral element to the production of this performance. Levin said: "Our vision is that this play will serve as the beginning of the revival of the City Hall as a creative hub and heritage site that should be attractive and accessible to the general public."
The Maids will donate 10 percent of all profits to the Dahlia Care Centre - a secure and prejudice-free environment to aid and protect those in need. "The aim is not only to make a financial contribution towards the extension of this centre, but also the implementation of a professional acting mentorship programme," said Fortuin. Newman and Spiers will conduct a five-week acting mentorship programme with a revised student curriculum, sponsored by Act Cape Town, to aspiring young actors from Dahlia.
Tickets are available at Computicket for R120. There are 65 seats per night.
For more information, go to www.themaids.co.za