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The Clean House

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by

Isabel Holgado

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of The Clean House

The Clean House
The Director's Concept
Casting
Robert Downey Jr. is well known for his role in Iron Man as Tony Stark. He can be a romantic and can act heroically, like his previous role as Iron Man, for the people he cares deeply about by traveling to Alaska in the bitter cold weather to retrieve the Yew Tree for Ana in the play. He has compassion and confidence for his work but he can act childish in behavior. He has a funny, charismatic and charming personality that it would be hard to dislike the characters that he portrays. He can contribute well to the comedic aspect to the play and entertain the audience.
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Sound Design
Sound Cut One: "The Girl From Ipanema" performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz
Written by Sarah Ruhl
Scenic Design by Shameya Ayad
Costume Design by Liz Voyzey
Sound Design by Isabel Holgado


When introduced to Charles in the play, he could be singing this song about his idea of love and this song will contrast Lane's love and Ana's love. This song is about wanting a love that you do not have and searching for the "right" apple. Although Charles was happily married to Lane, he met his missing piece, Ana. In the song, Elton John sings, "So bring it on, I've been bruised. Don't give me love that's clean and smooth.I'm ready for the rougher stuff. Not sweet romance, I've had enough." Although being "happily" married to Lane and stayed faithful to her, he craved something more. He did not realize it until he met Ana. He is willing to go great lengths for his
basert
, or soul mate, Ana and would go to the ends of the earth for her love. More over, Robert Downey Jr. is lip synching and we can visualize Robert as Charles well.
In the beginning of the play this song can play during the introduction to Matilde. Although beautiful and melodic, it has a sense of melancholy attached. This song also fits the description of Matilde when people see her when Astrud Gilberto sings, "Tall and tan and young and lovely. The girl from Ipanema goes walking and when she passes, he smiles, but she doesn't see." This song was performed in 1964 and may be outdated, but it can depict the old spirit of a young Brazilian girl, and the conflict that Matilde deals with death early in life. Matilde is young and should be carefree, but she is always surrounded by death and mourning of her parents and this song can embody her personality well.
Although this song is sung from a male's point of view, it can been seen from Lane's perspective and the struggles she faces as Charles' wife. Lane experiences jealously and betrayal when Charles has a love affair with Ana. This song best represents Lane's perspective when The Killers sing the line, "It started out with a kiss how did it end up like this? It was only a kiss. It was only a kiss." This could show how Lane reacted when she found out about Ana and the song can be playing when she meets Ana for the first time. While she was focused with her work life as a doctor, she asks herself over and over how she could let Charles fall in love with someone new while she was not looking. This song will show the inner turmoil that she might experience with accepting that her husband Charles has found the "right" apple.
Sound Cut Two: "I Want Love" by Elton John (lipsynced by Robert Downey Jr.)
Sound Cut Three: "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers
Robert Downey Jr. as Charles
Jane Kaczmarek as Lane
Sofía Vergara as Matilde
Ruhl’s
The Clean House
is about following your heart and finding what you want in life. The motif of the apple that appears in the play symbolizes the desire to attain the "right" apple to satisfy your life. In addition, the characters deal with death in different ways. For example, Matilde tries to use her best joke to deal with her parent's death whereas Ana chose her death by laughter. In the play, Matilde says, "I think maybe heaven is a sea of untranslatable jokes. Only everyone is laughing." This play showed lighter and the brighter side of the reality of death and we wish to show the audience these aspects of death and contrast with the ardent struggles that the characters face in life through this play.
In our play, The Clean House explores the struggles many face in life. For example, in extreme situations of
The Clean House
, Lane deals with Charles’ love affair with Ana and struggles to balance her work and personal life. On the other hand, Charles finds someone he was missing in life, his “bashert” or soul mate, and tries to find his true happiness with someone new. Matilde tries to move past her parent’s death and uses humor to deal with this tragedy. Virginia longed for her purpose in life and her role in it. Ana wanted to be with Charles, but her sickness prevented their passionate relationship. She wanted to die happy because she hated doctors in hospitals (except Charles) and she did not want see Charles being upset by watching her die.
The setting should take place in present day America in a suburb or an apartment building. With this cast, we decided that the characters to be played by younger actors but maintain dialogue as verbatim. The simplicity of the designs we wish to utilize will highlight character’s relationships and their emotional struggles in the play. We can also add various plant life around the stage to show the natural aspect of the play that may represent the contrast between life, the dirty natural aspect, and death, a clean house aspect to show the fragility of human emotions and the role of death. The two genres of romantic comedy mixed with the tragedy will set mood of the play. This nature aspect will add to the non realistic style of the play. Love and jealousy can be caught between life and death. Mother nature can be cruel and death can stand in the way of love. The aim of this play is not only to entertain the audience with the comedy the actors provide but also to show the lighter side of tragic death and how it is something we all must face today and not just in dysfunctional marriages

This colorful dress is the perfect choice for Ana. The womanly cut and style helps to highlight Ana’s beauty and femininity. The red color makes her appear unique among the bland colors of the other clothing and scenery. It also mirrors the colors of the ever-present apples which helps with her symbolization of the perfect apple.
This white pant suit is a good choice for Lane’s costume. The white suit resembles a doctor’s uniform which shows her dedication and preoccupation with her profession. This also symbolizes her struggle with finding balance between personal and work life. The white color and simple style also helps Lane to blend in with the scenery and reflects her desire for cleanness.
This simple, black shirt dress would be a good costume choice for Matilde. The black color symbolizes Matilde’s mourning. The black color also juxtaposes her joking personality, demonstrating her struggle with parents’ deaths. The black color produces a stark contrast with the crisp white scenery, drawing the audience’s attention to her.
We have chosen to cast Sofia Vergara as the role of Matilde. Because Sofia is Colombian, she could easily portray a Brazilian woman like Matilde. Sofia is known for her comedic role in Modern Family and comedic abilities is essential to the character of Matilde. It is stated in the play that every character should be able to tell a really good joke, and Sofia can certainly do that. Her good looks and warm personality will also help to draw and keep the audience's attention.
Jane has played in the famous show Malcolm in the Middle where she is the mother of four boys. Raising four boys is extremely tough and raises her stress level. Jane would play an excellent job as Lane because Lane is put in an extremely stressful scenario where her husband is having an affair. This would be extremely easy for Jane because she has plenty of experience with stress and Lane’s character is one who is clueless about what to do about her husband. Jane is able to show love and concern to her five children really well; as Lane she will display her concern and her emotions out very well the audience will have sympathy for her character.
Using this well-kept table as the main area for scenes to occur will help reflect our theme of life and death. Actors may be sitting on the white chairs reflecting their hope that everything turns out the way they should be and will show the lighter side of death by contrasting the dark color of the table. The black table is the reality that life isn’t perfect but is something that they will have to face because it is in front of them but the white table cloth is a sign for eases after hardship. The white wall will also look great with the stage lights; we would not have a hard time expressing the way character feels because the white lighting fixture above will also fulfill its purpose in expressing feeling on stage by illuminating the facial expressions of the actors.
This scenery will symbolize hopelessness in Ana’s health. When Charles decides to go to Alaska to try to save Ana’s life, this scenic design will show his desperation in saving her. From this scenery, the audience will be able to see that the one weak tree in the middle of Alaska will not do much for Ana. Along with the theme of whiteness that signifies life, the black overrides the hope there is for Ana and symbolizes death. From this foreshadowing scenery design, the audience will anticipate Ana's death and how much realize Charles loves Ana, to the extent of ignoring the signs of no hope.
One scene that is not dominantly white will be provided with an apple orchard and foliage as the scenic design. Keeping in tune with the theme, all of the characters are searching for that right “apple” to find the solution to their problem. It may seem impossible at times to find that one apple, but with life, there is always a good apple in the bunch. The audience can reflect on how in life not everything is white and perfect and sometimes we are not sure what may happen. The vibrant colors in this scene will show this idea.
By Shameya Ayad
By Liz Voyzey
By Isabel Holgado
Full transcript