The Maids


Writers: Jean Genet


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
Evening, Madame's Bedroom
Cast Size
Ideal for
All-Female Cast, College/University, Diverse Cast, Regional Theatre, Small Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes adult characters


Jean Genet’s The Maids was inspired by a real-life case of the infamous sisters, Christine and Léa Papin, who murdered their employer and her daughter in 1933. In Genet’s reimagining of the case, sisters Solange and Claire play out the same role play every evening while their wealthy mistress is out of the house. In a subversive and highly sexual scenario, the sisters fantasize about murdering Madame. Claire, the youngest and frailest of the two, becomes Madame, while Solange, the eldest and most resentful, plays Claire. However, as they get carried away, their emotions intensify and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. It emerges that Solange has tried to kill Madame before but failed, and so the sisters resolve to try again. When Madame returns home one day, Claire laces her tea with poison and the women await her fate. However, in a twist of timing, Madame receives the news that her lover has been let out of jail on bail and she rushes to him, leaving the tea untouched. Trapped as prisoners in their own game, Claire resumes the role of the mistress and forces Solange to feed her the tea.

Lead Characters

The Maids guide sections