The Clean House
By Sarah Ruhl
Concept Statement
• What: A whimsical romantic comedy centered on Matilde, a Brazilian maid who would
rather be a comedian...
Character Relationships
Characters
• Matilde: “Lane’s cleaning lady, a woman in her late twenties. She wears black. She is
Brazilian. She has a re...
Action of Play
Jokes
• From the Text: “I want the choice of jokes to be somewhat open, allowing for the
possibility that different produc...
Important Themes
• Language:
• Play is trilingual- includes English, Portuguese, and Spanish
• A joke is funny in any lang...
Visual Approach
• From the Text: “A white living room. White couch, white vase, white lamp, white rug.
A balcony. The livi...
Costumes
Examples of Set
Fin.
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The Clean House - PDA Presentation

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A presentation on Sarah Ruhl's "The Clean House" for my PDA Play Analysis Class.

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The Clean House - PDA Presentation

  1. 1. The Clean House By Sarah Ruhl
  2. 2. Concept Statement • What: A whimsical romantic comedy centered on Matilde, a Brazilian maid who would rather be a comedian • Theme: Laughter provokes the same emotions in any language or country • Why Do It: It’s Funny, well-written, and trilingual • Demographic: Anyone could benefit, but aimed at 20-30’s females • Why: Mature themes aimed at an older audience; sarcastic humor • Approach: Clean and simple; an all-white set filled with clear windows in the back that open our eyes to nothing • Technology: To contrast with the clear, “clean house”, an intricate projection and lighting system show subtitles and captions on the back wall A spotless set reveals a complex play, where language and people are mixed together in a melting pot of culture and love .
  3. 3. Character Relationships
  4. 4. Characters • Matilde: “Lane’s cleaning lady, a woman in her late twenties. She wears black. She is Brazilian. She has a refined sense of deadpan.” • Lane: “A doctor, a woman in her early fifties. She wears white.” • Virginia: “Lane’s sister. A woman in her late fifties.” • Ana: “An Argentinean woman. She is impossibly charismatic. She is older than Lane.” • Charles: “Lane’s husband, a man in his fifties. A compassionate surgeon. He is childlike underneath his white coat.” • Matilde’s Mother • Matilde’s Father
  5. 5. Action of Play
  6. 6. Jokes • From the Text: “I want the choice of jokes to be somewhat open, allowing for the possibility that different productions may come up with different and more perfect Brazilian jokes. So please use these jokes as you will.” • The Funniest Joke in the World: Is never heard out loud. As the audience we anticipate hearing the joke that Matilde is convinced is so funny it will kill someone- and we don’t. We never hear it. The message Ruhl sends is in the result of the joke, not in the joke itself. • One of the Jokes: • Por que os homens na cama sao como comida de microondas? • Estao prontos em trinta segundos. • Why are men in bed like microwave food? • They are done in 30 seconds.
  7. 7. Important Themes • Language: • Play is trilingual- includes English, Portuguese, and Spanish • A joke is funny in any language- laughter knows no bounds • Laughter as medicine for the body, heart, mind, and soul • Apples: • Symbol of purity and sin; reference to Adam and Eve • Ana and Charles have “sinned”- they go apple picking • “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” • Ana and Matilde bite apples over Lane’s home- strip her to her core • Hospitals/Doctors: • Lane and Charles are both doctors • Lane attempts to play god and keep a “clean house” • Charles is a surgeon: cuts down trees, cuts out hearts
  8. 8. Visual Approach • From the Text: “A white living room. White couch, white vase, white lamp, white rug. A balcony. The living room needn’t be full of living room detail, though it should feel human. The space should transform and surprise. The balcony should feel high but also intimate- a close-up shot.” • The Balcony: Serves predominately as the balcony outside Ana’s house. A room leading to the balcony is suggested but unseen. • Transitions: The couch turns into a hospital bed table, the balcony turns into an apple farm, and often times two different places can be seen at once. • The Back Wall: Often the backdrop is portrayed as glass windows from the ground to the ceiling- you can often see Virginia cleaning through them. • Projections: Subtitles for the scene are projected on the clear back wall in some productions. Ruhl wrote these herself for each scene. • Spotlight: Characters often tell jokes or speak to the audience without others listening. This seclusion is created by a center-stage spotlight.
  9. 9. Costumes
  10. 10. Examples of Set
  11. 11. Fin.

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