Promo photo for Jean Genet’s The Maids, directed by Francine Roussel for Kicking Mule Theatre Company. The show will play at NACL Theatre on July 21.

It just so happens that next weekend we’ll be seeing a production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit (1944) continuing in Duryea (Luzerne County, Pa.) while at the same time (on Saturday, July 21), 64 miles away, Kicking Mule Theatre Company will present its NYC Fringe bound production of Jean Genet’s The Maids (1947) at NACL Theatre in Highland Lake, NY.
That’s all I need to justify my theater column in next week’s ec/dc.
Sarte was a huge champion of Genet and in the early ’50s would base first a character (Goetz in The Devil and the Good Lord) on Genet and then write an entire book about him- Saint Genet. (Which I just ordered even though I can’t afford such luxuries. It’s probably the nicest thing I’ve done for myself in months so… blah.)

Researching lead me quickly to the page of an experimental theater company from Seattle named Saint Genet, most likely with respect to these French artists.

I’m entranced with its “mission statement,” not entirely because I’ve been asked to write at 13 point “No Manifesto” for John Bromberg’s annual Mudball Festival (this year reimagined as the “NoBall Festival” in August. Naturally, I’m jealous we can’t go see a production of this conmpany’s work in NEPA- another sort of nothingness altogether, but I’ll take the inspiration.

It – the Saint Genet mission, not my yet-to-be-written manifesto- follows here:

Being nothing Saint Genet posses nothing, while secretly pursuing the the emanate possession of everything.Saint Genet is the truth of the blood- marriage between our patriarchal, existential mind, and our maternal, essential ever breaking heart. Both Satan and pestilence. Preferring nothingness to being, tension to enjoyment, substance and will, soul and consciousness, magic and freedom, concept and judgment collide, gnash, beat upon, and scream out again and again our cursed black history. We steal everywhere, against everyone, no one is spared.

Our work is directed with a war like fury and aimed, one may say, against an audience. With a mechanical violence our audience has died, over and over again they have died, and still we keep hacking away at the bloated waxy corpse. In the end, exhaustion and suffering lay our murdering hands beside our victim; the murder is a suicide. Quietly me, you, all of us our hearts pounding, know that no one has the right to forgive, no one has the right to forgive, and tomorrow dawn will break, no one has the right to forgive, tomorrow dawn will break, and nothing is beautiful save that which is not.

We must believe that. Must we not?