The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

Sunday Dec. 6, 2015 - 2 PM at Firespring, 1201 Infinity Court, Lincoln

Winner! 2003-2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
Finalist! 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama

After its acclaimed run at Yale Repertory Theatre, this extraordinary new play by an exciting new voice in the American drama was was done to equal acclaim at several major theatres coast to coast before winding up Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center, where it had an extended run. The play takes place in what the author describes as "metaphysical Connecticut," mostly in the home of a married couple who are both doctors. They have hired a housekeeper named Matilde, an aspiring comedian from Brazil who's more interested in coming up with the perfect joke than in house-cleaning. Lane, the lady of the house, has an eccentric sister named Virginia who's just nuts about house-cleaning. She and Matilde become fast friends, and Virginia takes over the cleaning while Matilde works on her jokes. Trouble comes when Lane's husband Charles reveals that he has found his soul mate, or "bashert" in a cancer patient named Anna, on whom he has operated. The actors who play Charles and Anna also play Matilde's parents in a series of dream-like memories, as we learn the story about how they literally killed each other with laughter, giving new meaning to the phrase, "I almost died laughing." This theatrical and wildly funny play is a whimsical and poignant look at class, comedy and the true nature of love.

"Fresh, funny ... a memorable play, imbued with a melancholy but somehow comforting philosophy: that the messes and disappointments of life are as much a part of its beauty as romantic love and chocolate ice cream, and a perfect punch line can be as sublime as the most wrenchingly lovely aria." - The New York Times

"A rich work about big themes from a young playwright with an original and audacious voice." - Variety

"Casts a spell that had me hooked." - The New York Daily News

The Clean House premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre on September 17, 2004.

Characters

Ana is named as sixty-seven within the dialogue. This number may be changed from production to production if need be.

LANE, a doctor, a woman in her early fifties. She wears white.
MATILDE, Lane’s cleaning lady, a woman in her late twenties. She wears black.  She is Brazilian. She has a refined sense of deadpan.
VIRGINIA, Lane’s sister, a woman in her late fifties.
CHARLES, Lane’s husband, a man in his fifties. A compassionate surgeon. He is child like underneath his white coat. In the first Act, Charles plays Matilde’s father.
ANA, a woman who is older than Lane. She is Argentinean. She is impossibly charismatic. In the first Act she plays Matilde’s mother.

Sarah Ruhl’s most recent play Stage Kiss had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 2011. Her plays include In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play (Glickman Prize, Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony nominee for Best Play), The Clean House (Susan Smith Blackburn award, 2004, finalist for Pulitzer Prize, 2005), Dead Man’s Cell Phone, (Helen Hayes award for best new play), Demeter in the City (nominated for 9 NAACP awards), Eurydice, Melancholy Play, Orlando, a new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and Passion Play(Kennedy Center Fourth Forum Freedom Award). Her plays have premiered at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway, produced by Lincoln Center Theater; off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights’ Horizons, and Second Stage; and regionally at Berkeley Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Cornerstone Theater, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Piven Theater Workshop in Chicago, as well being produced at many other theaters across the country. Her plays have also been performed in England, Poland, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia, and have been translated into Spanish, Polish, Russian, Korean and Arabic. Sarah received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel, and is originally from Chicago. In 2003, she was the recipient of a Helen Merrill award and a Whiting Writers’ award, a PEN/Laura Pels award, and in 2006 was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Her work is published by TCG and Sam French, and she is a member of New Dramatists and 13P. She lives in New York City with her family.