It all started in October 2018, in Geneva. Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) is terminating its contract with cleaning company Orgapropre. With this, the company loses one of its largest customers, and announces a mass dismissal on January 31, 2019, threatening the jobs of more than thirty female cleaners. In addition, a new contract was signed for her signature in October.
the problem? It contains a no-competition clause for Orgapropre employees working for UBP, which prohibits them from being employed by the same bank or by the new service provider, on pain of a fine of 30,000 outright. That’s too much for those already low-paid women who decide to file a complaint with the SIT and go on strike.
Nearly four years after the events, Geneva director Jerome Richer has chosen to tell, in the renovated theater of the Lobby Theatre, the story of these cleaners through a show full of sincerity and questioning.
Do a lot with nothing
Hiring a housekeeper is it good or bad? If you have one, how do you deal with it? Do we really believe there is “no business stupid”? Lots of questions that the audience is directed to ask themselves when confronted Even though you treat me like shit, you’re still cute. Of all ages, six actresses narrate the events related to this hit, between addressing the audience directly and small scenes of just a few minutes.
The board is clean and almost empty. There are only a few tables, stairs, and cleaning accessories. Jerome Richer explains in his note of intent that he wants to show “theatre reduced to its core” because “these women had nothing during the strike. A shopping cart, a few banners, fliers, nothing.”
Different things are added gradually, to allow the actresses to interpret the different characters. Wiper like a wig to denote the head of the bank, plastic seals to denote the police shield are sufficient to turn it.
Well-documented, this presentation accurately presents all the issues – still relevant – associated with the 2019 strike. It allows us to better understand the roles that everyone plays in this issue while pointing to broader societal issues: the underlying racism against these women – in many Sometimes the Portuguese origin – misogyny, dehumanization of the police, or even the hypocrisy of a certain class of correct thinking.
If the performance is sometimes information-dense, the latter nonetheless is necessary to push the audience to question themselves about the core topics. A theatrical performance will also be organized on Thursday 6 October in the company of Jerome Richer, Merita Illizi, the union secretary responsible for the cleaning sector at SIT, and his colleague Thierry Horner.
With this creativity, whose title is adapted from a sentence uttered by Migros teller, Jerome Richer sheds beautiful light on these underrated professions.
Always together on stage, Donatian Aman, Fanny Brunet, Camille Figuerio, Julia Portier, Jacqueline Ricciardi and Tais Vinitz present a funny, poignant, and disgusting portrait of the work of these women that society has chosen to make invisible. After more than an hour we spent listening to the story of their existence, are we still thinking about it tomorrow? Because these cleansers, the heroines of the moment, are already back in the shade.
Through October 16, We-T-Sat 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 8 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. Wolf Theatre, 10 Chapters. de la Gravière, Geneva,theatreduloup.ch