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The Maids
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Jean Genet was born in Paris in 1910. An illegitimate child who never knew his parents, he was abandoned to the Public Assistance Authorities. He was ten when he was sent to a reformatory for stealing; thereafter he spent time in the prisons of nearly every country he visited in thirty years of prowling through the European underworld. With ten convictions for theft in France to his credit he was, the eleventh time, condemned to life imprisonment. Eventually he was granted a pardon by President Auriol as a result of appeals from France's leading artists and writers led by Jean Cocteau.$$$His first novel, Our Lady of the Flowers, was written while he was in prison, followed by Miracle of the Rose, the autobiographical The Thief's Journal, Querelle of Brest and Funeral Rites. He wrote six plays: The Balcony, The Blacks, The Screens, The Maids, Deathwatch and Splendid's (the manuscript of which was rediscovered only in 1993). Jean Genet died in 1986. Andrew Upton is Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company, where his first play, Hanging Man, was staged in 2002, followed by Riflemind in 2007. He has adapted a number of classics for the company, and in 2007 his version of Gorky's Philistines was seen at the National Theatre in London, followed by Bulgakov's The White Guard (2010) and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (2011). He wrote the films Bangers (1999), which he also directed, and Gone (2006), and the libretto for Alan John's opera Through the Looking Glass (2008).

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