Sunday, February 23, 2014
A Strange Journey with Apples, Dust, Cancer and Connecting - The Clean House
On Thursday night I took in Opening Night of The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, presented by Trunk Theatre at the Varscona Theatre. I knew little of the play and it soon became apparent that this was going to be a bit off the beaten path. It's very funny, a bit realistic and a bit absurd, and it concerns itself with the telling of the perfect joke, of a pair of sisters who cannot be more different, of an affair, of picking apples, of caring for people and of seeking connections. At least that's was my take away. I loved the smart, sharp, slightly off kilter writing. I didn't anticipate the absurdness of the show so it took a bit for me to realize that I needed to let go of real and just go with it. Once I did that I relaxed and just had a good time. The cast is a nice tight ensemble and the staging is creative in the limits of the space itself. Favorite moments were the apple-eating scene between Ana (Shannon Boyle) and Matilde (Elena Porter), Virginia's (Coralie Cairns) wild, destructive tango with the garbage, and Charles' (Troy O'Donnell) outlandish adventures. It's definitely a play to go to and be prepared to laugh, although it also deals with more serious issues (cancer, dying, an affair). Perhaps that is part of the message? That we still need to laugh even when those horrible things are happening. I'm not sure. I want to read the play now. I recommend you check it out, but go with few expectations and just let it happen. It you try to put this one in a box, I don't think it's going to fit.