The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Abigail Bower
February 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 – 7:30 pm
February 17 & 24 – 2pm
BarnArts Winter Community Play at the Grange Theatre
The Clean House
A romantic comedy about love, loss, change and redemption, The Clean House 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 Ana, on whom he has operated.
BARNARD, January 21, 2019 –
BarnArts Center for the Arts presents Sarah Ruhl’s “The Clean House” at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret, Feb 15-17 and 21-24. Evening shows begin at 7:30pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:00pm. All tickets are reserved, $10-20 and can be purchased through barnarts.org. “The Clean House” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 and is one of Sarah Ruhl’s most beloved plays.
“The Clean House” is set in ‘metaphysical Connecticut’ – near NYC and near ‘the sea.’ Married doctors employ a Brazilian housekeeper, Matilde, who isn’t particularly interested in house cleaning, but prefers instead to focus on coming up with the perfect joke, meanwhile grieving her deceased parents. The particularities of Matilde overlap – with irony and gentleness – the privileged concerns and real struggles of her employers and those closest to them. The play touches on the interwoven humanity in loss and love and is ultimately a story of compassion (and the purpose of a good joke) told through the playful magical realism of Sarah Ruhl.
“The Clean House” is directed by Abigail Bower of East Barnard, VT. Bower was recently seen acting in ArtisTree’s production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile and BarnArts production of It Can’t Happen Here, and is a NADTA member and current student of Drama Therapy. Some of Abigail’s past Directing credits include Babyshower, an original one act play directed and performed in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Assistant Director to The Fiddlers of Inishbofin, written and produced by Tommy McCarthy and directed and performed in Boston, MA.
Playing the lead role of Matilde is Elena Julia Greenlee, a current resident of Royalton, VT who is fluent in Portuguese and has lived in Brazil, the home country of the character Matilde. Greenlee is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts MFA program in Film & Television, where she studied acting with Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, Sandy Meisner student José Santana, and founder of NYC Improv School the Magnet Theater, Armando Díaz. Her passion is for storytelling as ritual for communal and personal healing.
Matilde’s employer, the doctor Lane, is played by Rebecca Bailey of South Stratford, VT. Bailey’s recent acting includes “1776” (We the People Productions) and “Death of a Salesman” (Parish Players), and she sings with the Thetford Chamber Singers and the professional chamber chorus Counterpoint. She does writing and media relations for Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Pomfret’s Darby Hiebert plays Lane’s sister, Virginia, who secretly befriends Matilde and takes over the cleaning of her sister’s house. Hiebert was last seen at the Grange Theatre in BarnArts production of “Brighton Beach Memoirs” in February 2018. She also played Artie in “Eleemosynary” with BarnArts. Favorite roles include the Storyteller for Christmas Revels, Maggie in “Shadowbox” and being a part of the ensemble in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” Film credits include Sheila in “Thrasher Road” which is currently making its round on the independent film festival circuit. Darby is a fifth grade teacher in Barre, Vermont.
The other two actors in “The Clean House” are Marcela Williamson and D. Gene Kraus, who are double cast as Matlide’s parents in the first act, and as the romantic couple Charles and Ana in the second act, and again as Matilde’s parents in the play’s emotive final scene. Williamson previously performed with BarnArts in “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” and “The Little Prince” and D. Gene Kraus played Buck in last summer’s production of “It Can’t Happen Here.”
“The Clean House” production team includes Yael Taylor as Stage Manager, Murray Ngoima as Set and Prop Design, Deborah Rice as Costume Designer, Chris Hamala as Lighting Designer and Linda Treash as Producer.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl is a MacArthur “genius” fellowship recipient and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for both The Clean House (2005) and In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) (2010). She also received the the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a distinguished American playwright in mid-career.
BarnArts production of The Clean House at The Grange Theatre is BarnArts second Winter Community Play at The Grange Theater. Brighton Beach Memoirs was performed in February, 2018.
BarnArts is committed to community theater created by local performers and for a local audience. Experienced and inexperienced actors and production staff are encouraged to get involved and discover the empowerment of theater: telling stories to our community by our community.