Read The Maids & Deathwatch by Jean Genet Bernard Frechtman Jean-Paul Sartre Online


The two plays collected in this volume represent Genet's first attempts to analyze the mores of a bourgeois society he had previously been content simply to vilify. In The Maids, two domestic workers, deeply resentful of their inferior social position, try to revenge themselves against society by destroying their employer. When their attempt to betray their mistress's loveThe two plays collected in this volume represent Genet's first attempts to analyze the mores of a bourgeois society he had previously been content simply to vilify. In The Maids, two domestic workers, deeply resentful of their inferior social position, try to revenge themselves against society by destroying their employer. When their attempt to betray their mistress's lover to the police fails and they are in danger of being found out, they dream of murdering Madame, little aware of the true power behind their darkest fantasy.In Deathwatch, two convicts try to impress a third, who is on the verge of achieving legendary status in criminal circles. But neither realizes the lengths to which they will go to gain respect or that, in the end, nothing they can do--including murder--will get them what they are searching for....

Title : The Maids & Deathwatch
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802150561
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 166 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Maids & Deathwatch Reviews

  • Sketchbook
    2020-01-18 11:56

    Do you dust, darling? Well, that's not good enough. We're s'posed to be lemmings and praise Genet. Role-playing (The Maids) was hotcha topic in the 50s, how tiresome today. But so is Genet with his queer brawls. Having just seen the $300-a-tic thingie w Blanchett-Huppert, lemme say : see Chabrol's La Ceremonie.

  • Zöe Yu
    2020-01-06 11:09

    I liked the Deathwatch better than the Maids, but after reading Sartre's introduction (I read it in the end on purpose), I was amazed by Sartre's great mind and his understanding of Genet. Very interesting work. It is my first time to read Genet.

  • Scott Moore
    2020-01-02 11:00

    "The Maids" excited me with its phenomenal (submerged) representation of BDSM dyke roleplay and its class critique. Sartre's gender analysis in the introduction, however, can fly a kite. Jean-Paul's examination of self-punishment and consciousness in "The Maids" sparked my interest in brief spurts, only to be undermined entirely by incomprehensible claims about "real" and "unreal" masculinity/femininity in Genet's plays.

  • Ali
    2020-01-08 11:54

    The Maids is loosely based on the infamous Paoin sisters who brutally murdered their employer and her daughter, in France (1933), though the play is not the story of the Papin sisters as such. Genet's original intention was that the two maids and Madame, be performed by male actors.کلفت ها، چه در متن، و چه در روابط شخصیت ها، به یک نیایش آیینی در لباس نمایش می ماند. "سولانژ" و "کلر"، دو کلفت خانه، در نقش یکدیگر و در نقش خانم خانه، تمامی آرزوی "دیگری" بودن را، در احساس توامان عشق و نفرت نسبت به شرایطی که در آن زندگی می کنند، نمایش می دهند؛ شرایطی در فاصله ی میان آنچه هست، و آنچه آرزو می شود. گفتگوها به دقت "در انتظار گودو"، شکل دهنده ی یک نمایش بیهودگی (ابزورد)، در چهارچوبی رسم شده، انتخاب شده است. سولانژ و کلر در نهایت تلاش، این چارچوب را می شکافند، و چون از قاب بیرون می افتند، در می یابند که این نیز، بخشی از سهمی ست که بی حضور آنها تقسیم شده، و برایشان کنار گذاشته شده است! آنها پشت ماسک ها پنهان می شوند، به همان صلابتی که انسان پشت آرزوها مانده. اجرای شگرفی از این اثر توسط یک گروه تیاتر مشهور اسپانیایی را در یکی از جشن های هنر شیراز دیده ام و بازی سترگ دو بازیگر نقش های "سولانژ" و "کلر" را فراموش نکرده ام. هیجان زندگی در پس پشت ماسک های متفاوت توسط یک بازیگر، در نقش های دیگر، به مراسمی آیینی می ماند، در حضور دیگران! نمایشی از عشق و نفرت توامان کلفت ها نسبت به خانم خانه، در غیاب شوهرش که در زندان است... در مورد "تیاتر ابزورد" اینجا را بخوانید

  • Denise Mullins
    2019-12-27 08:52

    While their mistress is absent, maids Solange and Claire engage in daily sadomasochistic fantasies in which they enact the death of their employer. However, because these are so stylistically intricate, they fail to ever conclude- or do they? The sisters’ perverse codependence and ability to evoke feelings of hatred, pain, and evil are both disturbing and confusing. While this is not an enjoyable read, it may provide insight to dramatist Genet’s psyche, himself a lifelong criminal who received a life sentence that was later commuted.The second play, Deathwatch is equally dark but ,again, reveals the depths that paranoia and imposed loneliness can drive an individual to sink into even while attempting unsuccessfully to attain some sense of empathy with another doomed soul.

  • Brendan
    2020-01-15 05:15

    I'm just not impressed. The Sartre Introduction is long, rambling, and boring. The plays are boring as well. There are a few interesting lines in The Maids, but the plot is silly. Deathwatch makes more sense, but there aren't any specific lines that are notable. For plays driven by dialogue, I'd recommend Cat On a Hot Tin Roof and Glengarry Glen Ross over the two here.

  • Yooperprof
    2020-01-23 05:03

    3 Stars for "The Maids," which is dated, but still makes for interesting and actor-friendly theatre. (I just saw a very good production of it at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green WI.)1 Star for "Deathwatch," which is just tedious, like a bad overly talkative 1930s prison drama.

  • Steve Spencer
    2020-01-02 10:59

    Read The Maids

  • JS Found
    2020-01-25 07:06

    My first Genet. The Maids is a very compelling two person play about mad sisters who work as servants for a rich woman. They plan on killing her. This was partially based, if I'm not mistaken, on an actual French case where two sisters gruesomely murdered their masters. But this isn't a straightforward femme fatale thriller. Rather its a disorienting psychological study of love and hate, and how the two really are the same. Also about the degeneracy of being a maid, if you think yourself not in that class. The play opens with the sisters enacting out a role-playing game where one pretends to be their mistress and the other pretends to be the other sister. Then the they do this again at the end. I think Genet is making points about levels of power in master-servant relationships, also in husband-wives relationships, but the play is disturbing and visceral enough that those points get subsumed in a horror film.Deathwatch was a little hard to understand, even though I read it twice. (It's probably me--a diet of pop culture with little reading of poetry and drama will do that to you. I Should rectify that.) There are three characters here, instead of two, all in prison. One of them is on death row and will be executed very shortly. The other two vie for his respect and affections, so they fight each other. There is some latent homoeroticism. Genet was gay, wrote about it, and apparently his work was banned in many countries because of it. Once again, Genet seems to be concerned with the hierarchy of power relationships, but beyond that I have no idea what he's trying to say or why he wrote the play. Which by the way, according to Edmund White's biography, he thought this was his worst work. I plan on reading more of his stuff.

  • Phillip
    2020-01-10 11:22

    *Disclaimer: I didn't read the edition I'm reviewing, I read The Maids in the Norton Anthology of Drama*I have a mixed reaction to The Maids. It's quite a good play for the type of play that it is, and I can appreciate its metatheatrical qualities and its ideological/philosophical concerns with issues of power, violence, eroticism, and control. But basically it's not the kind of play I particularly enjoy. So while I appreciate the play and Genet's work as important theatrical influences, I wouldn't say I genuinely enjoyed reading this play. Not even in the sense that many people seem to experience Genet's theatre, which seems to be with a kind of stunned awe. For me this play simply is. I understand it and can appreciate it, but I don't particularly enjoy it, I would probably never choose to teach it, and I would probably be fine if I never read it again or saw it performed.I did actually see a teleplay version of The Maids a while back, without really knowing much about Genet, his work, or the characteristics of his theatre. I don't remember caring much for the teleplay at the time either.

  • Drew
    2020-01-25 09:19

    I don't know why I always subject myself to re-reading "Deathwatch" when I pull this collection off the shelf. It's just awful. It almost feels like a parody of Genet, although he wrote it himself. Meanwhile, "The Maids" is one of my favorite plays of the 20th century. A dizzying ritualization of oppression, Genet's second one-act manages to be both ornate and raw, comedic and cruel. Anyone who's played servant for any length of time will immediately get why the plan to off the mistress is sound, even before we've met her royal highness. Is there a higher accolade than genius? Apply it here.

  • Tim
    2020-01-15 08:10

    just finished "The Maids" because it was first, but I actually started reading this because of a combination of having just read the Patti Smith bio and "Deathwatch" being the name of a song I like a lot which I am assuming is referencing the second play in this edition. "The Maids" was my first dip into Genet and I'm digging it. update: I don't think Deathwatch the play was what Deathwatch the song was referencing. It also wasn't as good as The Maids. Still, interested to read some of Genet's novels.

    2019-12-28 05:05

    I saw The Maids performed once by the Towson State theater department. I saw them perform an Ionescu play too. & maybe Neil Simon's (?) version of "Awakenings"? A pretty good selection of plays brought to us by Paul (?) Berman (sp?) of sd theater department. Strange to remember b/c I have so little respect for the university or, even more so, the neighborhood in the suburbs of Baltimore. The Maids is a powerful play about the covetousness & vicarious living of people forced into demeaned social positions. Genet is, of course, a 'master' at depicting such things.

  • MM
    2020-01-09 04:00

    Genet is brilliant, what can I say. In these two plays he offers a scathing critique of the bourgeoisie, at the same time as identifying the ways in which we all are shaped by our work, and our working conditions. And the context is whirligig (as Sartre would call it) – criminals and saints, love, desire, murder. If you like Genet and haven’t read these I do recommend (I tend to think Maids is better than Deathwatch, incidentally).

  • Micha
    2020-01-07 11:02

    The plays were definitely really good and I would love love love to see them performed, but I think one of the things that amused me most was Sartre's introduction. He was of course an admirer of Genet's work and he and a few influential others kept the man out of jail for the latter part of his life because they said Genet was a genius, but from the introduction it totally seems like Sartre's favourite thing about Genet was that he was gay. So avant-garde and anti-establishment! Oh, Sartre.

  • Malvina
    2020-01-18 05:59

    Both plays were intense and uncomfortable, presumably as they were meant to be. Both end in death. The constant switching of role playing characters - again, in both plays - is fascinating to read. I'm going to see a performance of The Maids this week with Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert. Should be compelling!

  • Tosh
    2019-12-29 12:17

    My deepest regret so far in life is that I haven't sat down in an audience to watch a Genet play. "The Maids" is such a classic work from the 50's (?). Also one can't avoid this book in an used bookstore. Every (decent) used bookstore has this title in their Drama section. Get it! Genet is one of the great voices in literature and everything else.

  • Karlo Mikhail
    2020-01-04 12:12

    Deathwatch is Genet's first play. But the real gem is The Maids. Its just fascinating -- its metacommentary on role-playing, the imaginary world conjured by the actors, and how the acting subverts these illusions.

  • Jon
    2020-01-23 10:09

    fascinating stuff, but who the hell knows what's going on? i should probably read the sartre essay on genet at the front of the book, but i'm anxious to get to part 2 of the "Death of Captain America," so that might have to wait.

  • Gabrielle
    2020-01-11 05:59

    I did this play in HS and I was the understudy for all three roles as well as the stage manager. To this day I find many parts of it to understand but I love it for reasons of nostalgia and because the language is poetic and fresh, even now.

  • Gregorio
    2020-01-09 07:15

    A very interesting take on gender roles, and how people mirror each other, draw from each other, change on the energy of each other, and have no real one identity of their own. Great identity plays. Sartre's introduction is very insightful.

  • Amy
    2020-01-16 04:21

    A brilliantly cruel, hard view of society.

  • Kay
    2020-01-16 10:04

    A classic - looking at it for Madshag over the weekend, so I revisited it this week. Once upon a time it was my most successful POD project ever.

  • RB
    2020-01-24 09:09

    Review pending.

  • Josefine
    2020-01-01 04:11

    [Cheating because I've really only read The Maids]

  • Shannon Fox
    2020-01-12 09:09

    I think the authors personal history is extremely interesting.

  • Claudia
    2020-01-07 09:05

    I love Jean Genet. You have to completely immerse yourself into his world, to get what he's trying to say. So funny too.

  • Anna P
    2020-01-20 05:22

    Les Bonnes is creepy.

  • Natalie
    2020-01-07 08:52

    Bizarre, insane, amusing, and terrifying.

  • Anna
    2020-01-02 04:02

    Fantastically strange, grotesque characters. Rich, poetic prose. Layered relationships. Wonderful opportunity for any actor or dramatist.