The new, contemporary version of Jean Genet's The Maids, opens at London's Trafalgar Studios February 29, following previews that began February 20, 2016.
It is the U.K. premiere of Benedict Andrews and Andrew Upton's version of the 1947 drama that was first produced by Sydney Theatre Company in 2014 and subsequently played at New York City Center, starring Cate Blanchett. It is directed here by Jamie Lloyd under the auspices of the Jamie Lloyd Company, the production company he leads for the West End's Ambassador Theatre Group, and designed by his regular design collaborator Soutra Gilmour.
Set in a luxurious bedroom, the play revolves around two maids who fantasize about killing their employer, playing out dangerous and sadistic scenarios as they plan her violent death. Aduba and Ashton will play the maids Solange and Claire, and Carmichael plays Madam.
In a press statement, Aduba commented, “I wanted to be a part of The Jamie Lloyd Company because they’re interested in doing exciting work that is new, with a twist to it. It's work with a fresh edge. Jamie reinvents classic plays in a way that we've never seen before or have explored before. That's exciting as an actor. To be part of a play that allows for three women to mine such complex characters inside of an already rich and thrilling story, is the stuff that acting dreams are made on.”
Aduba currently stars as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black,” for which she won the 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy — winning Emmys for the same role in both the comedy and drama categories has only been achieved previously by Ed Asner. The third season premiered June 12, 2015, and will return for a fourth season in 2016. She was recently seen in NBC’s production of The Wiz Live! as Glinda the Good Witch, which aired Dec. 3.
She is currently also in production in Ewan McGregor's “American Pastoral,” co-starring with McGregor and Jennifer Connelly, and recently wrapped production on Sian Heder's “Tallulah.” Her theatre credits include Coram Boy and Godspell on Broadway. In a press statement, Ashton commented, “Being a part of The Jamie Lloyd Company is an opportunity I've been coveting for a long time! Jamie and I are reuniting on this production, having worked together on Headlong's production of Salome, and I couldn't be more thrilled. I've always been so excited by his vision as a director and to not only be collaborating with him but with two exquisite actors like Uzo and Laura on this fresh take on a classic text, is very juicy indeed.”
She was most recently seen onstage in the Donmar Warehouse's production of Abi Morgan's Splendour. Other stage credits include Gone Too Far!, Rhinoceros, The Arsonists and Narrative (all at the Royal Court), Othello and The Frontline (both at Shakespeare's Globe). TV roles include “Not Safe for Work,” “Fresh Meat,” “Misfits,” “Case Histories,” “Coming Up” and “Dreams of a Life.” She is also a writer, whose plays include Harm's Way and director, whose short films include “Happy Toys” and “The Place We Go to Hide.”
In a press statement, Carmichael said, “I'm really looking forward to working on The Maids. Jamie is such an exciting director. I love the way he tackles these classic plays. He has a clear vision and a passion to attract young audiences that I think is really cool. I'm also a big fan of Uzo and Zawe so am really excited to be working with them.”
She is best known for playing Lady Edith Crawley for all six seasons of “Downton Abbey,” whose final season airs on PBS in January. She made her West End stage debut in 2012 in a production of Uncle Vanya. Other screen credits include “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Madam Bovary” and “Burn Burn Burn,” and she is currently filming “A United Kingdom” opposite Rosamund Pike.
Lloyd was last represented at Trafalgar Studios by a revival of Pinter's of The Homecoming, and he will next direct a new production of Dr. Fautus at the West End's Duke of York's Theatre. Previous productions for the Jamie Lloyd Company include Richard III, The Ruling Class, The Pride, Macbeth and The Hothouse. Elsewhere, he has directed The Commitments (West End), Urinetown (St. James and West End), The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic), She Stoops to Conquer (National Theatre), The Faith Machine and The Pride (both at the Royal Court) and extensively at the Donmar Warehouse, including productions of Piaf (subsequently transferred to the West End's Vaudeville), Inadmissable Evidence, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Passion and Polar Bears. On Broadway, he has directed Cyrano de Bergerac for the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7632 or visit thejamielloydcompany.com for more details.