Grand Balcony is a deluxe brothel. Through the window panes of the balcony, Genet unveils the disguises people wear in a life which is unreal. Genet uses Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony as the castle of miracles, which she runs along with the Police Chief. The Balcony becomes the arena where the visitors dance in their favourite attires. The montage represents a judge who is ready to lick the feet of a criminal, a bishop who is adamant to get out of his golden laces and royal mitre and a General. This is shown as Genet’s sarcasm on the authorities in its finest form. When the rebellion fills panic in the rooms, visitors refuse to go to their homes. Towards the end, when The Bishop, The General, The Judge and The Queen are killed in the revolt, Grand Balcony gets attacked. In this scenario, the rebel leader himself is seen fulfilling his wish of life, to be in the attire of a police chief. Reaching ecstasy, he is seen castrated in the Balcony, which ultimately ends the revolt. The actors/visitors are brought up from the rooms by the chief and he gets The Bishop, The Judge and The General to rise from the dead. Madame Irma is crowned as The Queen and Grand Balcony becomes the citadel as the power is restored.
225 years ago, I got an opportunity to direct the play “Death watch” of Jean Genet. In the process of making of the play, I went through Genet’s other famous/notorious plays “The Maids”, “Our Lady of the flower”, “Miracle of the Rose”, “The Blacks”, and “The Balcony”. Genet’s play which talks about lust and power reveals dark faces of life and criticises all disguises of society. Genet was an orphan, an offender, gay, a nomad, and his life was a journey from jail to jail. This play seemed to be relevant in the present era of institutionalisation, where religion, the government, The King, The Queen, The Bishop, the revolutionists and the people are all in fake costumes. I hope this play will be a mirror against dishonesty and could be used as a strong medium to unveil state terrorism, fake revolutions, religious invasions and corrupted judiciary in the present contaminated world.