Jean Genet's 'The Balcony' Opens Thursday at SMCM - Southern Maryland Headline News

Jean Genet's 'The Balcony' Opens Thursday at SMCM


Production Runs from April 3-5 and 10-12 at 8 p.m. with Matinees April 6 and 13 at 2 p.m.

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (April 1, 2008) - Jean Genet's sexually and politically charged play, The Balcony, opens Thursday, April 3 at 8 p.m. in the Bruce Davis Theater at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM).

The play, which was originally written and performed for underground French and British clubs, was heavily influenced by Genet's rebellious early life of anarchy. Co-director Rhoda warns, "The production of The Balcony may not be suitable for all audiences because of its adult-oriented themes and depictions."

Set in a brothel called the Grand Balcony, the play centers on a savvy businesswoman, Madame Irma, and her customers. The city surrounding the Balcony is in the midst of a rebellion, but even while insurgency threatens to overthrow the city government and put Irma out of business, working-class men risk life and limb to get to her establishment to act out their fantasies of power.

"These 'Average Joes,'" Rhoda said, "rush to Irma's place to impersonate civic, military, and religious dignitaries. They enact the very figures that hold power over them in their 'real' lives…in a series of hilarious-yes, the play is very funny-and deadly masquerades…."

When the play's rebel forces succeed in bombing the Royal Palace, overthrowing the government, and killing its rulers, the surviving court envoy convinces Irma's clients to play out their fantasy roles permanently, with Irma assuming the role of "Queen." They ironically help preserve the status quo in the post-revolutionary public arena.

"It is," Rhoda said, "a profoundly subversive play."

The play is produced by the Theater, Film, and Media Studies Department and directed by Joanne Klein and Mark A. Rhoda.

Performances are April 3-5 and 10-12 at 8 p.m., with matinees April 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $4 or $6. To make reservations, call the Theater Box Office at 240-895-4243 or e-mail boxoffice (at) smcm.edu.

Free parking is available within walking distance to Montgomery Hall in the Visitors parking lot adjacent to Somerset Gym. The parking lot is located on East Fisher Road, off Mattapany Road.

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