THE CLEAN HOUSE Comes To ICT, Opens 8/27
A housekeeper who hates cleaning prefers trying to dream up the funniest joke in the world, even though she's convinced it might kill her. International City Theatre presents The Clean House, Sarah Ruhl's unpredictable and sublime rumination on the importance of laughter and mess in our lives. caryn desai [sic] directs Rob Roy Cesar, Kathy Bell Denton, Eileen Galindo; Nadia Nardini, and Caryn West in a four-week run opening August 27, with low-priced previews on August 24, 25 and 26.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl once overheard a doctor at a party say, "My cleaning lady is depressed and won't clean my house, so I took her to the hospital and had her medicated, and she still won't clean." Born out of this chance remark was Ruhl's award-winning play, The Clean House, an off beat and quirky comedy in which four markedly different, yet intimately connected women grapple with order, cleanliness, and the messy ambiguities of life. The Clean House is a play of uncommon romance and uncommon comedy about love, loss, and the power of a good joke.
"I like to see people speaking ordinary words in strange places, or people speaking extraordinary words in ordinary places," explained Ruhl in an interview. "Luckily, I was raised by a family who put a premium on humor. A play without some sadness or a play without some humor, to me, doesn't feel like life, I guess."
"There's always a fine line between comedy and tragedy, and it's an especially treacherous balancing act in this play," says desai. "There are moments when the emotional pain of the characters is funny, which may seem cruel. But the script is so well written that we never stop relating to and empathizing with these people."
The Clean House premiered in 2004 at Yale Repertory Theatre. It earned Ruhl the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, awarded annually to the best English-language play written by a woman, and it was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, recognizing Ruhl as "a playwright creating vivid and adventurous theatrical works that poignantly juxtapose the mundane aspects of daily life with mythic themes of love and war." It has also received glowing reviews from critics. Variety wrote that "The Clean House marks the arrival of a playwright with a unique comic voice, perspective and sense of theater. A wondrously mad and moving work."The New York Times called it "one of the finest and funniest new plays you're likely to see... tart humor, theatrical audacity and emotional richness."
The set designer for The Clean House is Stephen Gifford; lighting and sound design are by Chris Kittrell; costume design is by Kim DeShazo; property designers are Patty and Gordon Briles; casting is by Michael Donovan Casting; and Shashin Desai produces.
Sarah Ruhl's other plays include In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play (Glickman Prize, finalist for Pulitzer Prize, 2010); Dead Man's Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Demeter in the City (nominated for nine NAACP awards); Eurydice; Melancholy Play; Orlando; a new version of Chekhov's Three Sisters; and Passion Play (Kentucky Center Fourth Forum Freedom Award). Her plays have premiered at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway, and have been produced off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage. Regionally they've been seen at Berkeley Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, The Goodman Theater, Cornerstone Theater, Arena Stage, Wooly Mammoth, Cincinnati Playhouse and the Piven Theater Workshop in Chicago, as well as 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.
Director caryn desai [sic] has received numerous awards and nominations including LA Weekly, Drama-Logue, Robby, Ovation and NAACP with credits ranging from classics, to new works, to musicals, to original performance pieces. Recent directing credits at ICT: Bright Ideas, The Sweepers; Five Course Love; The Story; Once on This Island; Dinah Was; A Christmas and Sofa; Having Our Say; Frankenstein; All I Really Need to Know... Kindergarten; Greetings; Beast on Carol; Visiting Mr. Green; Raisin; Master Harold... and the boys; Swinging on a Star; Bed the Moon; Lies and Legends; Tapestry; Jar the Floor; Romance/Romance; Home and A Shayna Maidel. Other credits: A Raisin in the Sun; Shakuntala (also adapted by her); Rashomon; The Importance of Being Earnest; A Piece of My Heart; Joe Turner's Come and Gone; Contradictions (her original work); The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940; Graceland; Lysistrata; Agamemnon; Oedipus; Pvt. Wars; and the world premiere of Instead of Nightmares.
Rob Roy Cesar (Charles) has been seen as Freddie in Noises Off; Glenn in Rumors; Simon in The Real inspector Hound; and Alan in Boys In The Band. He recently wrote, produced and starred in his first short film Quicksand, which screens this summer at Lion's Gate Films. Among his many feature film credits are Cleaver's Destiny; Nine Days to Nowhere; and Ghosts Never Sleep. Recent TV credits include the soap opera Wicked; Wicked Games; and Criminal Minds.
Kathy Bell Denton (Virginia) has performed at the Unknown Theatre (Michael Sargent's Black Leather; The Killing Game, Attempts on Her Life, The Serpent); The Old Globe; ICT (Remembrance); Kennedy Center (Blood Wedding); Sierra Rep (The House of Blue Leaves); Santa Barbara's Ensemble Theatre (West Coast premiere of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Real Inspector Hound/After Magritte, The Aspern Papers, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur); Theatre West; the Odyssey; West Coast Ensemble; Group Rep; and Vox Humana; most recently in the feminist classic Trifles. She began her theatrical career in San Diego's controversial production of Lenny, portrayed Natalie Clifford Barney in The Rape of Djuna Barnes, and won a best performance Drama-Logue Award for And A Nightingale Sang.
Eileen Galindo (Matilde) originated roles in world premieres including Chavez Ravine with Culture Clash (Mark Taper Forum); Lisa Loomer's Expecting Isabel (Arena Stage, DC/Taper, LA); and Luis Santeiro's Praying with the Enemy (Coconut Grove Playhouse, FL). Ms. Galindo also appeared opposite Chita Rivera in The House of Berndada Alba (Taper). In addition to countless on-camera guest star appearances on TV and film, Ms. Galindo is best known for her work in animation as Dora's Mommy on Dora the Explorer and as Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro on the Disney Series Phineas and Ferb. Eileen is the managing director of Company of Angels, Los Angeles' oldest not for profit theater located in the Historic Alexandria Hotel in Downtown L.A.
Nadia Nardini (Ana) started out as a dancer and choreographer in her native Brazil; going on to star in a wide variety of plays by contemporary and classical Brazilian writers. She received Best Actress nominations for her roles in A Estoria de Copelia and verdadeira estoria de Chapeuzinho Vermelho. Her musical theater company, Bandanca, brought recognition to new musical theater in Brazil and was featured on the front pages of major magazines and newspapers. Since arriving in the U.S., Nadia has appeared in the films I love John; Performance; Second Act; Full Grown Men; and The Curtain Rises.
Caryn West (Lane) starred on Broadway in Crimes of the Heart as well as in the national tour, and played Maggie in the national tour of Dancing At Lughnasa. Major regional theater credits include lead roles in Toys In The Attic at The Colony (2003 LA Ovation Award fot "Best Play in a Larger Theater"), Fool For Love, Faith Healer, Moon For The Misbegotten, Road To Mecca, Gardenia, Fallen Angels, Three Sisters, Othello, and Twelfth Night. She is a member of the Interact Theater Co. and a past member of the Classical Theater Lab.
International City Theatre is the Resident Professional Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center and the recipient of the Margaret Harford Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle for "Sustained Excellence in Theater."
The Clean House runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, August 27 through September 19. Tickets are $32.00 and $37.00 on Thursdays, and $37.00 and $42.00 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, except opening night which is $50.00 and $60.00 and includes a reception with the actors following the performance. Preview performances take place on Tuesday, August 24; Wednesday, August 25; and Thursday, August 26 at 8 pm. Preview tickets are $29.00. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at (562) 436-4610 or go to www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.