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Genet’s ‘rituals of the oppressed’ and the main stage: Benedict andrews’s the maids at Sydney theatre company

Journal Article


Abstract


  • In 2013 the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) staged Jean Genet’s The Maids in a version by the production’s director Benedict Andrews and then co-artistic director of the company, Andrew Upton, starring Cate Blanchett, Isabelle Huppert, and Elizabeth Debicki. Not surprisingly reviews of the performance foregrounded the production’s prestigious cast. This paper takes up the question of the implications of celebrity spectacle for Genet’s complex theatrical engagement with a ‘First World’ spectator. It argues that STC’s performance de-politicised the process of theatricality that binds the powerful to the dispossessed through its focus on the hierarchical illusion of stardom and affirmed hegemonic ideologies intrinsic to Western mediatised societies and global capitalism. In doing so, the paper positions its analysis of the politics of mise-en-scène in relation to Christopher Balme’s (2014) study of theatre’s relation to the public sphere in order to consider the socio-political function of main stage theatre as an institution in the context of neoliberal commodification.

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Hamilton, M. "Genet’s ‘rituals of the oppressed’ and the main stage: Benedict andrews’s the maids at Sydney theatre company." Contemporary Theatre Review 28 .4 (2018): 445-460.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85061007970

Number Of Pages


  • 15

Start Page


  • 445

End Page


  • 460

Volume


  • 28

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • In 2013 the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) staged Jean Genet’s The Maids in a version by the production’s director Benedict Andrews and then co-artistic director of the company, Andrew Upton, starring Cate Blanchett, Isabelle Huppert, and Elizabeth Debicki. Not surprisingly reviews of the performance foregrounded the production’s prestigious cast. This paper takes up the question of the implications of celebrity spectacle for Genet’s complex theatrical engagement with a ‘First World’ spectator. It argues that STC’s performance de-politicised the process of theatricality that binds the powerful to the dispossessed through its focus on the hierarchical illusion of stardom and affirmed hegemonic ideologies intrinsic to Western mediatised societies and global capitalism. In doing so, the paper positions its analysis of the politics of mise-en-scène in relation to Christopher Balme’s (2014) study of theatre’s relation to the public sphere in order to consider the socio-political function of main stage theatre as an institution in the context of neoliberal commodification.

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Hamilton, M. "Genet’s ‘rituals of the oppressed’ and the main stage: Benedict andrews’s the maids at Sydney theatre company." Contemporary Theatre Review 28 .4 (2018): 445-460.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85061007970

Number Of Pages


  • 15

Start Page


  • 445

End Page


  • 460

Volume


  • 28

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom