Longtime theater educator Nichole Garrison jumped at the opportunity to direct what she considers to be the perfect play: Sarah Ruhl’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Clean House.” This whimsical and poignant look at class, comedy, and the true nature of love is the second production in Theatrikos Theatre Company’s 2017 season and runs three weekends—April 7 through 23—at the Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse in historic downtown Flagstaff.
“I absolutely fell in love with it the first time I read it more than a decade ago, and it has since become a regular part of my curriculum,” Garrison said. “It’s crafted in such a unique, artistic, glorious way, and I was beyond thrilled to learn that it would be staged at Theatrikos this year.”
“The Clean House” takes place at the home of Lane and Charles, who are a married couple who are both doctors. Their Brazilian housekeeper, Matilde, is an aspiring comedian and more interested in coming up with the perfect joke than in housecleaning. Lane’s eccentric sister Virginia happens to be nuts about housecleaning, and she and Matilde become fast friends as Virginia takes over the cleaning while Matilde works on her jokes. Trouble comes when Charles reveals he has found his soul mate in Ana, a cancer patient on whom he has operated. The actors who play Charles and Ana 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.
“Sarah Ruhl presents the struggles and joys of everyday relationships with profound artistry,” Garrison said. “’The Clean House’ exemplifies what a contemporary masterpiece looks like—in form, in dramatic structure, in the brilliant use of symbolism and metaphor. It breaks the rules and reminds us that reality and fantasy can exist onstage in seamless harmony.”
The cast of five includes Susan Chastain, Patricia McKee, Jess Pinaire, Viola Award-winner Linda Sutera, and John Winikka.
Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays from April 7 to 23. There will not be a performance on Easter Sunday. Instead, a matinee performance has been added at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Individual tickets for the April 7 opening performance are $20 to $24 and include a post-show reception with the cast. Seating for other performances range from $18 to $21. A special “First Friday” pre-show reception on April 7 will feature free refreshments and artwork in the lobby.
Tickets can be purchased online at Theatrikos.com; by calling (928) 774-1662; or by visiting the theater’s Box Office, which is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and two hours prior to each performance.
This production is generously underwritten by Merry Maids.