Gaitkrash Theatre Company, the Llanarth Group, Theatre P'yut, with Jing Hong Okorn-Kuo are looking for 2,000 euro (or the UK pound equivalent) in support for a very ambitious production of “playing the maids” which will preview at the Cork Midsummer Festival on 20th and 21st June 2014, and will then premiere at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff on 20th February 2015, before touring other venues in Wales and internationally.
The 2,000 euro raised from fundit will help cover essential production costs including set and costumes and will also help with travel costs. This funding is vital if these collaborating artists are to realize this very special production.
“Playing the maids” is a dynamic meta theatrical montage of newly devised spoken text (primarily English, some Korean and some Mandarin), psychophysical scores, choreography and live sound composition realized by an international ensemble of seven artists working with Katie O"Reilly (dramaturg) and Phillip Zarrilli (director). Sound artist (Mick O Shea) and cellist (Adrian Curtin) respond to and interact with five female performers throughout the performance: a Chinese ‘madame’ (Jing Hong Okorn- Kuo) and two sets of ‘sister maids’ (one Irish Bernadette Cronin/Regina Crowley, one Korean:Jeungsook Yoo/Sunhee Kim).
“Playing the maids” is not a production of Jean Genet’s modernist drama. Rather it is a creative encounter with and re-imagining of the relationships and power dynamics of Genet’s source text.
David Ian Rabey, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, Aberystwth University, following a work in progress showing of Phase 1 of the work at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales in September 2013 wrote:
‘This was highly original, inventive and precise work, which works up from a shared series of practical reference points, experimentation and history of training already established between the participants; this in turn enables them to range further, in a more compressed period of time, than would be possible for less consistently informed and experienced practitioners.
Although the performance took an inspirational impetus from Genet’s text and its central relationships, this was an original and unpredictable exploration of the play’s environment. The focus and precision of the performers and musicians/technicians was exemplary, reflecting and embodying a level of international excellence. This was serious and important practice-as –research which might ideally be shared with a wider audience….’
Implicit in the work of the performers are questions posed by throughout the creative process:
What form does modern servitude take?
In austerity Europe today, who is it that’s ‘smiling’?
What is the ‘character’ of wealth as privilege?
What is the politics of intimacy?
Who moves whom in the dynamics of power/servitude?
How do Irish catholic notions of guilt relate to the Korean concept of han- a perpetually unresolved, deeply felt sense of oppression and injustice?