The Arts

CanStage 2008 – Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House

CanStage 2008 – Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House featured image

by Paula Citron.
The Clean House
Canadian Stage Company
Written by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Alisa Palmer
Starring Seana McKenna, Fiona Reid, Nicola Correia-Damude, Mary Ann McDonald and Joseph Ziegler
At Bluma Appel Theatre until Mar. 8

American playwright Sarah Ruhl has an astonishing grasp on magic realism, a concept associated with Latin American literature. Her play The Clean House, which was short listed for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, has all those wonderful magic realism qualities where metaphor becomes truth and absurdity is the norm. The result is a play of genuine laughs where sorrow is lifted by the spirit of hope.

Seana McKenna and Fiona Reid play two repressed American sisters, both married and both childless. The catalyst that brings about change is McKenna’s young Brazilian maid, performed by Nicola Correia-Damude, who grew up in a house of laughter but is now depressed. Joseph Ziegler and Mary Ann McDonald round out the excellent cast in Ruhl’s poignant journey into the soul.

Alisa Palmer’s direction is inspired while Judith Bowden’s set is beyond gorgeous. What a wonderful tonic for the hearts and minds is this play.

The Clean House continues at Bluma Appel Theatre until Mar. 8.

I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.

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