The Clean House

Elana Chan

Sarah Ruhl’s the Clean House was cleverly written and delightfully presented by brilliant stage actors including Susan Hogan and Sarah Henriques.  Elana Chan had the pleasure of attending the preview performance at the Playhouse Theatre on October 23, 2006.

House cleaning.  Some people find it therapeutic, while for others, cleaning is a sad and lonely chore. Then there are those who simply hire a maid.  Lane (Hogan) hires Matilde (Henriques) as her cleaning lady.  While Lane enjoys a high powered position as a doctor, she is unsuccessful in managing Matilde, who is thrown into a fit of sadness everytime she must lift a sponge.  Instead, the young Brazilian’s aspiration is to be a comedian.  “A good joke cleans your insides out,” says Matilde.  But the house has to be cleaned too!  Lane’s sister, Virginia, volunteers to take over for cleaning gives a purpose in her life. Later Lane finds out that her husband Charles, a surgeon, is running off with his cancer patient Ana.

Using the topics of cleaning and laughter as a vehicle, The Clean House shows how each character deals with crisis.  The play moves into serious topics of grief, chronic illness, coping, and disaster, which sees each character handle life’s tragedies quite differently. The play relies on witty dialogues and an expressive set design for smooth transitions between realism and the characters’ vivid imaginations.  

Don’t forget to check out The Clean House, playing at the Vancouver Playhouse until November 11, 2006.  For more information, visit

  • Posted on: 18 March 2016
  • By: Administrator
  • Author: Elana Chan