This is the second production of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-wining play since its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre in September. A handful of productions have been announced for theatres around the country for the coming year (no less than four stagings).
"The Clean House provides a fresh view on romance and family bonds from one of the newest female voices in American theatre," according to the Wilma announcement. Daniel Fish directs. Opening Dec. 8.
The play "is a comedic account of a home in disarray," according to the announcement. "Lane is a successful doctor who discovers that her husband is having an affair with one of his patients. Her Portuguese maid, Matilde, would rather spend her day telling jokes than clean. Enter Virginia, Lane's sister, who strikes a deal with Matilde, taking on the cleaning tasks while ruminating about her husband. The Clean House is a fresh, funny and quirky look at family dysfunction from a welcome new voice in American theatre."
The cast includes Lizbeth Mackay (Broadway's Crimes of the Heart) as Lane; Gerry Bamman (Off Broadway's Nixon's Nixon) as Lane's husband, Charles; Jayne Houdyshell (The Public Theater's Well) as Lane's sister, Virginia; Abigail Lopez as Matilde; and Judith Roberts as Anna, Charles' patient and soulmate.
"We are excited to introduce Sarah Ruhl's work to Philadelphia audiences," said co-artistic director Blanka Zizka, in a statement. "She represents a new generation of American playwrights whose work furthers our artistic mission of actively and vigorously pursuing new plays through intensive readings, a commissioning program for playwrights, and workshops supporting the development of new plays. Two of Sarah's peers will also be produced at the Wilma this season: Pulitzer finalist and 2002 Susan Smith Blackburn recipient, Dael Orlandersmith, with the world premiere of her Wilma commissioned piece, Raw Boys, and 26-year-old Itamar Moses will close the season with his witty, thought-provoking and intricate work, Outrage." Sarah Ruhl's interpretation of the Greek myth, Eurydice, opened to solid reviews at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California in September. Her plays have been performed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the 2002 Humana Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, the Children's Theatre Company, Brown University, Vassar College, and at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her work has been developed at theatres around the country, including the Joseph Papp Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Underwood Theater, Arena Stage, the McCarter Theatre, and Seattle Repertory. She received her M.F.A. from Brown University, and is originally from Chicago.
As the recipient of the 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Best Play Written in English by a Female Playwright, Ruhl joins the ranks of such playwrights as Paula Vogel, Caryl Churchill and Wendy Wasserstein.
Daniel Fish's recent work includes Ghosts (with Amy Irving) at New York's Classic Stage and the world premiere of David Rabe's The Black Monk (with Sam Waterston) for Yale Repertory Theatre.
Tickets are $9-$50 and are available at The Wilma Theater box office, online at www.wilmatheater.org, or by phone at (215) 546-7824.