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Boston College Theatre Department Presents The Clean House: January 23-25, 2014


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (January 2014) – The Boston College Theatre Department continues its 2013-2014 season with acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl’s quirky and touching comedy, The Clean House. Performances of this Workshop Production, directed by Theatre Arts major Billy McEntee ’14, will take place in the Bonn Studio Theater of the Robsham Theater Arts Center January 23-25.

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After its acclaimed run at Yale Repertory Theatre, this play--by an exciting new voice in American drama--was performed to continued acclaim at major theaters coast-to-coast before its extended off-Broadway at Lincoln Center. The play takes place in what Ruhl describes as “metaphysical Connecticut,” mostly in the home of a married couple who are both doctors and who 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.

Trouble comes when the husband, Charles, reveals that he has found his “bashert,” or soul mate, in a cancer patient named Ana, on whom he has operated. In a series of dream-like memories, the actors who play Charles and Ana double as Matilde’s late parents, and give new meaning to the phrase, “I almost died laughing.” This funny play takes a whimsical and poignant look at class, comedy and the true nature of love.

While it takes place in upper-class suburbia, the play has Latin roots as it is written in the style of “magic realism.” Aspects--the plot, characters and settings--are based in realism, but these devices are heightened by Ruhl’s poetic storytelling. Elements of the fantastic creep in and are treated as the norm by the characters.

“I love how it’s an abstract piece yet it feels so relatable--this play could take place in Chestnut Hill,” said McEntee. “The Clean House is wonderful to direct because it blends situational humor with three-dimensional characters. I think it will be a treat for the actors and audience as well; Ruhl’s mellifluous text craves to be spoken and heard.”

Ruhl received a master’s degree in playwriting from Brown University where she studied under Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel. At Brown, she penned Eurydice, a contemporary take on the Greek myth. The Clean House put Ruhl on the map, garnering her accolades including a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship and the 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, awarded annually to a woman for best English-language play. It also received a 2005 Pulitzer Prize nomination. Ruhl made her Broadway debut with In the Next Room, nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize.

The BC cast features Amanda Melvin ’17 as Lane (the wife), Taleen Shrikian ’15 as Matilde, and Maisie Laud ’16 as Lane’s sister, Virginia. Joe Meade ’15 plays both a Man and Charles, and Thais Menendez ’14 plays both a Woman and Ana.

The production team includes  Paulina Rodis ’14 and Jonathan Wall ’15 as set designers, Catherine Gambardella ’14 as costume designer, Andrew Andrews as light designer, and Jack Staid ’14 as sound designer. Nick Robinson ’15 serves as stage manager.

The production opens on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Saturday, January 25, 2014 in the Robsham Theater Arts Center. Tickets are $15 and $10 for students, seniors, and BC faculty and staff. All tickets are available online at www.bc.edu/theatre through the RTAC Box Office or by calling 617-552-4002. For more information, please go to www.bc.edu/theatre.

--Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs