Jean Genet’s Les Bonnes
at the Centaur Wildside Festival
The arbitrariness of class designations and the very real struggle of class inequality
By Jacqueline van de Geer
February 2, 2023
Centaur Theatre’s exciting line-up of Wildside Festival 2023 features a thought-provoking collection of experimental artistry with five theatre works curated by Rose Plotek.
The festival is on a mission to support local artists and independent theatre work, creating a platform for experimentation and unique artistry that challenges traditional conventions surrounding mainstream theatre.
Costumed by Sophie El Assaad in an outrageous outfit inspired by pole dancers, Alexandra Petrachuk demonstrates the nouveau riche: tasteless yet wealthy and power-hungry.
The festival opened with Les Bonnes, an adaptation of Jean Genet’s play The Maids, by Roxane Loumède, presented in French, English and Spanish, with English and French subtitles.
The Maids or Les Bonnes is based on the true story of the Papin sisters, two maids who shocked France in 1933 by murdering their abusive employer and her daughter. Genet’s play uses absurdity to demonstrate the arbitrariness of class designations and the very real struggle of class inequality.
In this production, Solange and Claire (Marie-Ève Bérubé and Camila Forteza) work for a wealthy Westmount woman known as Madame. During her absence, they have fun in a role-play in which they are imagining her murder, a game that will be fatal.
In this loose adaptation, the scenes go through different eras, starting in the Great Depression and ending up in postmodern Montreal.
Alexandra Petrachuk is mesmerizing as Madame. Costumed by Sophie El Assaad in an outrageous outfit inspired by pole dancers, she demonstrates the nouveau riche: tasteless yet wealthy and power-hungry.
Information about the Wildside Festival’s lineup:
Images: Phanie Éthier
Originally from the Netherlands, Jacqueline van de Geer crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 to live and work in Montréal. She has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and performance arts.