Sacré Théâtre

Studio Updates —

Les Bonnes (Jean Genet) - 2001, 2002, 2003, 2014


Jean Genet’s tale of murderous maids, fatally fascinating frocks, and a monstrous mistress who is more than she seems… Featuring the poisonous talents of Claudine Tourniaire, Dani Limon and Roger Baines.

Although ostensibly a one-act play, the action of Les Bonnes can be broken down into 5 movements/scenes of increasing intensity which, in keeping with tragedy’s infernal logic, depict how Claire and Solange’s (the eponymous bonnes) imaginary desire to kill Madame has self-destructive consequences for the two principal protagonists. As Genet warns us in the play itself: ‘ Le jeu est dangereux’ (play is dangerous) . Movement one covers Claire and Solange’s nightly ritual in which they play at murdering Madame, their beloved/hated mistress. Movement two deals with the maids’ attempt to realise their desire by ‘informing’ on Madame’s lover. Movement three shows the failure of Claire and Solange’s plan and their subsequent drift to extremity, seen notably in their plot to poison Madame. Movement Four witnesses an increase in the tragic intensity when Madame refuses to drink le tilleul laced with gardénal. In keeping with the structure of tragedy, movement five stands as the dénouement of the play in which, in an ironic reversal of the opening ritual, Claire drinks the poison and Solange awaits the police.




Cast -

Madame - Roger Baines

Solange - Dani Limon

Claire - Claudine Tourniaire



Director - Ralph Yarrow

Assistant director - Carl Lavery

Lighting and sound - Ralph Yarrow, Carl Lavery and Sophie Gerlach

Lighting and sound - Ralph Yarrow, Carl Lavery and Sophie Gerlach

Dressmaking - Kate Hickin and Nola Merckel (retouche 2014: Anna Russell)

Poster design and décor - Melanie Lavery

Video - Claire Waffel

Photography - Lisa Gurr

Costume Hire - Dereham Theatre Costumes

Make-up - Nola Merckel and Sophie Gerlach

Thanks to Jon Hyde, Robert Little, and Gez D’Arcy from the UEA Drama Studio, Gordon Turner,
Tim Tracey, James Sawrey-Cookson, The Last Wine Bar, Evolution, Nell Gwyn’s Party Shop,
and The Maddermarket Theatre.

Les Bonnes on tour

Friday 23 November 2001 at The Balcony in Overy Staithe, Norfolk

Friday 8 February 2002 at the University of Reading

Saturday February 23 2002, at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge (funded by the French Embassy's 'délégation culturelle' in Cambridge)

Friday March 1, 2002 at The Perse School, Cambridge

March 2002, at Aston University

An extract was revived in September 2013 for UEA's 50th anniversary weekend


Extrait un



Extrait deux


PlaysJason Baldry