French and Francophone Language and Literature | Modern Languages | Modern Literature
Published in Romance Notes, Volume 36, Issue 3, January 1, 1996, pages 243-252.
This article has been peer reviewed.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Brian Kennelly was affiliated with New York University. Currently, April 2008, he is Chair and Associate Professor of the Modern Languages and Literatures Department at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo.
The text of Jean Genet's Les Bonnes that is taught and performed most regularly is the shorter of the two versions of the play published side by side by Jean-Jacques Pauvert in 1954. It is considered the third and final acting script used in the first production of the play. Material from the earlier versions of the play, unused by Louis Jouvet who first directed it at the Thèâtre de l'Athénée in Paris in 1947, went unperformed and is, some fifty years after the premiere of Les Bonnes, essentially unknown. The first version of the play dates from 1943 and includes the roles of the milkman Mario and Monsieur in addition to those of the sister-maids Claire, Solange, and their mistress, Madame. It is jealously guarded by a private collector. The longer version of the play published by Pauvert is considered the second acting script used during rehearsals for Jouvet's production.