What better way to spruce up Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio On 3 season than with maids -- Jean Genet's Maids, to be exact, running Jan. 5-17. The official opening is Jan. 6, 1999.
This allegorical story of two servants who use their imaginations to escape their lives will feature African-American actors Forrest McClendon and Kirk Wendell Brown and will be directed by Deborah Block (Shylock). Like a controversial Off-Broadway production a couple of seasons back, the Philadelphia mounting features men in two traditionally female roles. The third character, Madame, is still played by a woman (E. Ashley Izard).
According to the Walnut Street press office, Genet's 1947 drama was based on the true case of sisters who "mutilated and murdered their mistress and her daughter" in 1933.
A chronicle of Francisco Goya's "Naked Maja," Portrait of A Nude, by Laura Shamas follows, playing Feb. 2-14, 1999. Frank Burd directs.
Lyle Kessler's drama, Orphans will run March 2-14, 1999. William Roudebush directs this tale of two Philadelphia brothers who kidnap a rich man only to have him turn the tables on them. Will Stutts will direct his own play, Oscar Wilde's Lover, March 30 April 11, 1999. This world premiere production tells of playwright Wilde's relationship with his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, which led to Wilde's destruction and -- possibly -- his immortality. The tale was told twice in New York last season, on Broadway in The Judas Kiss and Off-Broadway in Gross Indecency.
The Studio's season will close with Hare's Skylight, April 27-May 9, 1999. This drama explores the relationship of a businessman and his mistress who meet again three years after they've parted. No director has yet been announced.
For tickets and information, call (215) 574-3550, ext. 4.
-- By Christine Ehren and David Lefkowitz