The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

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  • Playhouse Theatre

About the Play

The Clean House is a comedy about clean homes and messy lives.

Matilde has moved to the United States after her parents - the funniest couple in Brazil - literally died laughing. She is hired as a live-in maid by Lane, a successful doctor who values order in every aspect of her life. But cleaning proves to be a thoroughly depressing occupation for Matilde, who would much rather spend her time concocting jokes in the tradition of her beloved parents.

As luck would have it, Lane's modest sister Virginia thrives on cleaning and secretly begins to take over the maid's duties, allowing Matilde to create the world's funniest joke. When Lane's husband, a surgeon, unexpectedly falls in love with Ana, one of his cancer-stricken patients, everything that was clean and tidy for Lane - her house, her emotions, her relationships - is thrown into disarray, and Matilde must come to her rescue.

Forced to pick up the pieces and closely evaluate their lives, Matilde, Lane, Virginia and Ana come to find an uncommon bond filled with comedy and tragedy as they begin to discover what living and dying are all about, and how shared laughter can heal almost everything.

"Sarah Ruhl wrote The Clean House before she was thirty and as a result received a MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the Genius Award!). A leading light in the new guard of American playwrights, Ruhl's utterly original vision of the world celebrates dancing and laughter, ice cream, gold fish and a good cup of coffee. Who could resist such a wonderful concoction brimful of magic realism?" Kate Cherry

The Clean House is a co-production with Queensland Theatre Company.

Production images

Cast & Creatives

Cast includes: Carol Burns, Vivienne Garrett, Sarah McNeill, Hugh Parker and Brooke Satchwell

Director: Kate Cherry

Set Designer: Andrew Bellchambers Costume Designer: Alicia Clements Lighting Designer: David Murray Composer/Sound Designer: Ash Gibson Greig Choreographer: Claudia Alessi


"A rich and amusing comedy...a refreshing combination of breezy comedy and meaningful observation…" Post Newspaper

"...fresh in ideas and cleansing to the soul." ArtsHub

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