THE CLEAN HOUSE
Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004
The Clean House premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre in 2004, directed by Bill Rauch. It opened Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre in 2006. The Clean House was the winner of the 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Lane, a doctor, a woman in her early fifties. She wears white.
Matilde, Lane’s cleaning lady, a woman in her late twenties. She wears black. She is Brazilian. She has a refined sense of deadpan.
Virginia, Lane’s sister, a woman in her late fifties.
Charles, Lane’s husband, a man in his fifties. A compassionate surgeon. He is child like underneath his white coat. In the first Act, Charles plays Matilde’s father.
Ana, a woman who is older than Lane*. She is Argentinean. She is impossibly charismatic. In the first Act she plays Matilde’s mother.
*Ana is named as sixty-seven within the dialogue. This number may be changed from production to production if need be.
Everyone in this play should be able to tell a really good joke.
A white living room.
White couch, white vase, white lamp, white rug.
A metaphysical Connecticut. Or, a house that is not far from the city and not far from the sea.
Matilde tells a long joke in Portuguese to the audience.
We can tell she is telling a joke even though we might not understand the language.
She finishes the joke.
Lane, to the audience.
It has been such a hard month.
My cleaning lady—from Brazil—decided that she was depressed one day and stopped cleaning my house.
I was like:
clean my house!
And she wouldn’t!
We took her to the hospital and I had her medicated and she Still Wouldn’t Clean.
And—in the meantime—I’ve been cleaning my house!
I’m sorry, but I did not go to medical school to clean my own house.