According to a statement issued by the company, only the version of the show with the female cast will be presented this weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7pm) at the Bouwerie Lane Theater. "Despite the fact that the rights to both the female and male versions have been granted," reads the statement, "the constraints of the production as outlined in the license agreement made it impossible to make changes in the allotted time to alter the director's vision of the male version." It is unclear at this time whether the company will be able to return to presenting the all male version before the scheduled end of the run on April 23.
A spokesperson for the production explained that the company had been granted the rights to present an all-male version of the show, but it is written into the license agreement that no changes can be made to the setting of the play, which was specified as a bedroom by Genet. Lane Savadove, the show's director, had set the male version in a prison, reflecting the fact that Genet wrote it while imprisoned. The production was previously presented in that form in New Orleans and Philadelphia.
In his review of the production for TheaterMania, Adam Klasfeld wrote: "Scholars have long debated how Jean Genet intended his one-act play The Maids to be performed. The author said that he originally conceived it with two young men as the female characters, but most theater companies have cast women in the roles. Now, Lane Savadove, artistic director of the recently formed EgoPo/Cocteau company, allows us to make our own decision as to which approach works better by presenting a side-by-side comparison in The Maids x 2. As it turns out, there's no contest; the version with women is somewhat engaging, but the other is one of the best shows of the year."
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