Rights Snafu Lead to Delay of EgoPo/Cocteau Production of The Maids

News   Rights Snafu Lead to Delay of EgoPo/Cocteau Production of The Maids A confusion about obtaining the rights to Jean Genet's play The Maids has resulted in the newly formed EgoPo/Cocteau company delaying their new Off-Broadway version of that work, titled The Maids x 2.

A spokesperson for the company, which is the result of a merger between the struggling downtown mainstay Jean Cocteau Repertory and the homeless New Orleans company Ego Po Productions, said the run of the play should resume on April 21, when the rights dispute is expected to have been resolved.

According to a report in the New York Times, Lane Savadore, the head of Ego Po and now the artistic director of EgoPo/Cocteau, maintained that he had secured the rights to the play from the Genet estate, but had lost the paperwork when Ego Po's home was destroyed by Hurrican Katrina last fall. However, Samuel French, the play publishing house, said Ego Po had not won the rights to The Maids. Discussions are currently underway to rectify the situation. The production was to have opened on March 31.

The 35-year-old, Bowery-based Cocteau outfit recently joined forces with EgoPo, an experimental 15-year-old company that, prior to Hurricane Katrina, was based in New Orleans. The theatre's new name is EgoPo/Cocteau.

Together, they plan to present plays in a "multi-city repertory," with different shows being presented on both The Bowery and Philadelphia at the same time. The collaborations will be supported by a third group, the Catskill Mountain Foundation, which will provide summer workshop performance space, as well as an annual residency with Julia Hansen's Theater Masters in Aspen, Colorado.

Stephen A. Brown and Peter Finn were recently appointed the Cocteau executive director and board chairman, and made the announcement. Lane Savadove, EgoPo's founder, is the new joint company's new artistic director. The Cocteau lost two artistic directors—Ernest Johns and, before him, David Fuller—in the past year. Hurricane Katrina left EgoPo without a theatre. Additionally, many of its members became homeless. The Philadelphia Academy of Music stepped forward with a performing space.

Brown, company manager for the Metropolitan Opera, orchestrated the merger, according to press materials. EgoPo/Cocteau will continue to perform in Cocteau's Bouwerie Lane Theater as well as a performance venue within the Philadelphia Academy of Music.

The Maid x 2 was seen in New Orleans and at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.