Annie Welcomes the Clean House

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Annie Russell Theater presents The Clean House. The play, written by Sarah Ruhl, promises to captivate the public and stir emotions.

Right around the corner is the opening night for our first main-stage production of the semester: The Clean House! This delightfully comedic drama, by American playwright Sarah Ruhl, shows us the tale of a dysfunctional household and also manifests the age-old cycle of life and death. We witness two doctors’ (Charles and Lane) marriage fall apart, a Brazilian maid’s (Matilde) depression when it comes to cleaning, and a neurotic sister’s (Virginia) obsession with it. This play is sprinkled with touching moments of utmost emotional sincerity, along with much-needed snippets of comic relief.

This lovely piece of theatre is being brought to the Rollins public through guest director Aradhana Tiwari, and is assistant directed by Rollins Senior Katie Boone. The stage management team is Kodi Miller, Lauren Warner, and Alex Mariano. The Clean House runs February 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22 at 8 p.m., as well as the 16 at 4 p.m. and the 22 at 2 p.m. Bringing a loved one to the theatre is always a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, especially with this play.

There will be passionate moments, there will be cheesy moments, and there will be unbelievable moments. The students casted (Jake Teixeira, Ricci Prioletti, Amanda Borja, Kami Spaulding, and Lalitha Kasal) have dedicated endless nights to improving this show so that all of us may properly enjoy the magic that Sarah Ruhl intended when she first wrote the piece.

I actually had the opportunity to speak with Amanda, who brings the role of Matilde (pronounced ma-ch-il-ge) to life. The Brazilian had moved to America to clean Lane’s house after an unfortunate incident with her parents. Melancholy about cleaning, Matilde is constantly on the prowl for the perfect joke. Amanda was able to provide me with some insight on her experience working with this production.

Me: What has been the best thing about preparing the show so far?

Amanda: Getting to grow as an actress and as a person. Acting, especially the method that Aradhana approaches it with, teaches you to really think about your motivation and your actions, what you want from others, and how you will execute a plan to achieve it.

I think that’s such a valuable lesson that transposes onto the ‘real world’ and I think it’s definitely caused me to become more reflective about my goals and what I want to ultimately attain. Plus, with such a small body of cast and crew, it’s allowed us to become closer to one another and share in each other’s journeys.

M: The theatrical process takes a large toll on actors—what has been the hardest part for you?

A: Surprisingly, not the Portuguese. It differs from day to day. Sometimes it’s getting my energy up to the level it needs to be at when I’m running on a few hours of sleep because I juggle rehearsals, work, a leadership position, classes, applications for the future, and try to find time to spend with the people who matter most to me. Other days I struggle to figure out how I’m going to convey a certain emotion or what my motivation and my opinions are in order to ‘raise the stakes’ in a scene.

M: I know that there’s a lot going on with the props, the set, the costumes, and everything else. What are you most looking forward to the audience seeing?

A: Everything. Haha. But, in all honesty, every aspect of the play (from the costumes, to the set, to the script) is intertwined with one another so that it becomes this cohesive experience. And I’m also looking forward to audience members seeing themselves in each character, because Ruhl’s writing is so relatable and touches a part of the soul, regardless of whether it’s Lane or Matilde delivering the line.

M: Finally, will you please share with us your favorite line in the play that Matilde says?

A: “Love isn’t clean like that. It’s dirty. Like a good joke.”

And there you have it, folks. Personally, I am ecstatic to get a closer look at this performance in its final form. Consider picking a date on your calendar, coming on over to the Annie, and joining me in seeing the outrageous events of The Clean House unfold. Lots of laughs and cathartic heartache will be sure to ensue.

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