By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT ANGELES — Jim Guthrie, veteran theater director, thought he understood “The Maids.”
But working with the three actresses in it has taught him more.
“The Maids,” Jean Genet's play set in Paris, pits the rich Madame against two sisters, Solange and Claire, in a story of class struggle and, in Guthrie's words, “all kinds of triangles going on,” on the Port Angeles Community Playhouse stage this weekend only.
After hearing of Cate Blanchett's 2013 production of “The Maids” in Sydney, Australia, Guthrie couldn't stop thinking about staging it here.
He proceeded to find three performers: jazz singer Sarah Shea; Rebecca Lynn Horst, an actor just returning to the stage after taking time off for motherhood; and Angela Poynter-Lemaster, fresh from “Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits,” the playhouse's spring revue.
“The Maids,” which opened Friday night and runs through Sunday, is about as far from the “Broadway” romp as one can get.
It's an absurdist play by Genet, a Frenchman born in Paris in 1910. A social outcast turned famed playwright and novelist, he believed a theater performance should be an incendiary event.
Guthrie, for his part, calls “The Maids” a great “thought play” — with comic elements when the players bring them out.
“We tried to throw light on the dark,” the director and founding editor of Peninsula Spotlight said, adding that his cast has shone brightly throughout rehearsals.
They're doing just three more shows after opening Friday: 7:30 p.m. tonight (Saturday night), with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is by donation at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse, 1235 E. Lauridsen Blvd., while information awaits at PACommunity Players.com.
“The Maids” is riveting, said Horst, thanks to the cast and crew's alchemy.
“I love working with Jim Guthrie. He is a gem to the community,” she said.
“This is a great show for the times,” added Poynter-Lemaster; in it “you see the humor and the tenacity of the working class.
“It's about relationships, both family and work-related, and how we all play roles and wear masks.
“At the heart of those roles and masks, we all need love. We need it and want to give it, and we are searching for completion in that.”
“The Maids” will surprise viewers, she believes, in the way it stirs their emotions.
“They won't be disappointed.”