The Clean House

by  Sarah Ruhl

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  1m, 4f

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

Read more +

The Clean House

by  Sarah Ruhl

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Pulitzer, From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

After its acclaimed run at Yale Repertory Theatre, this extraordinary play by an exciting 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.
Read more +

Accolades

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

    Sarah Ruhl is the 2003 recipient of the Whiting Award for Drama

Reviews

REVIEWS

"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 

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER 

For The Clean House on Her 10th Brithday 
by Derick Edgren 
October 5, 2016

Videos

  • Jon Jory on The Clean House
  • Scene from Remy Bumpo's The Clean House
More videos +

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: A metaphysical Connecticut.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Casting

1m, 4f
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.
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Latino Actor(s)

Casting Notes

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

More

Authors

Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, Dear Elizabeth and Stage Kiss. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee. Her plays have been ...

View full profile

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

Now Playing

Community Experiences