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The Clean House

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · January 25th, 2006 · Curtain Call
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  Michele Vazquez plays a maid who prefers comedy to cleaning at the Cincinnati Playhouse.
Sandy Underwood

Michele Vazquez plays a maid who prefers comedy to cleaning at the Cincinnati Playhouse.



The Pulitzer Prize for drama is probably the best known recognition that a work for theater can win: While Sarah Ruhl's script, THE CLEAN HOUSE, didn't win it in 2005, it was one of two finalists -- and that theoretically puts it among the top three plays of the year. Based on the number of theaters staging Ruhl's offbeat comedy it's a winner in its own right. It's also up next at the CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK, opening Thursday night in the Robert S. Marx Theatre and continuing through Feb. 24. The Clean House is the story of Matilde, a young Brazilian woman who has been hired as a live-in maid for a high-powered physician. But cleaning makes Matilde sad; she yearns to tell jokes instead. The doctor, however, merely wants her house cleaned. Matilde strikes a deal with the doctor's sister, who likes to clean, and all goes well until they discover that the doctor's life is a tad untidy and her marriage is coming apart at the seams. Ruhl's play is described as being about "laughter that we don't understand, events we can't control, houses we can't keep clean and the power of the perfect joke." The cast includes Priscilla Shanks as the doctor's sister; Shanks was nominated for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award a year ago for her performance in the Playhouse's production of A Picasso. The production is directed by Michael Evan Haney, the Playhouse's associate artistic director, whose work with scripts like this often brings forth memorable theater. While you might not have heard of this show, it's one you should see. Tickets: 513-421-3888. ...

Don't tell me we don't have top-notch theater locally. The other finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize is also onstage right now. (I suspect there's no other city in the U.S.A. where you can see both shows at this moment in time.) It's Will Eno's THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING), the current production at ENSEMBLE THEATRE OF CINCINNATI (ETC), featuring Ean Sheehy, who played a central role in ETC's premiere of Warren Leight's Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine back in 2000. For more about Eno's intriguing one-man play, see our story on page 42. Tickets: 513-421-3555. ...

The summer of 2006 will see the arrival of a new theater purveyor in the Tristate. Presenting work in the soon-to-be-reopened theater at Covington's Carnegie Arts Center will be JERSEY PRODUCTIONS, the combined operation of artistic director LARRY SMIGLEWSKI and producer/musical director KELLY MARTIN.

I spent some time recently with ERIC VOSMEIER, who's the manager of the Carnegie's 450-seat theater space which has been almost completely renovated. My tour went throughout the Carnegie -- a one-time library built in 1904 and now home to art galleries and classrooms -- in addition to the theater. It's going to be a fine venue for theatrical productions. Vosmeier is a Northern Kentucky University grad who's been off doing theater in Houston -- where he worked with Smiglewski and Martin. He convinced them to come her to work, and the three have conspired to create an ambitious summer theater program. (Jersey Productions plans to offer a year-round season eventually.) Plans for 2006 involve three productions: Godspell (June 23-July 8), Ragtime (Aug. 4-19) and Cabaret (Sept. 1-16). Vosmeier says that actors, musicians and technicians will be paid for their contributions to these productions, which bodes well for their quality. More info:

  Michele Vazquez plays a maid who prefers comedy to cleaning at the Cincinnati Playhouse.
Sandy Underwood

Michele Vazquez plays a maid who prefers comedy to cleaning at the Cincinnati Playhouse.



The Pulitzer Prize for drama is probably the best known recognition that a work for theater can win: While Sarah Ruhl's script, THE CLEAN HOUSE, didn't win it in 2005, it was one of two finalists -- and that theoretically puts it among the top three plays of the year. Based on the number of theaters staging Ruhl's offbeat comedy it's a winner in its own right. It's also up next at the CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK, opening Thursday night in the Robert S. Marx Theatre and continuing through Feb. 24. The Clean House is the story of Matilde, a young Brazilian woman who has been hired as a live-in maid for a high-powered physician. But cleaning makes Matilde sad; she yearns to tell jokes instead. The doctor, however, merely wants her house cleaned. Matilde strikes a deal with the doctor's sister, who likes to clean, and all goes well until they discover that the doctor's life is a tad untidy and her marriage is coming apart at the seams. Ruhl's play is described as being about "laughter that we don't understand, events we can't control, houses we can't keep clean and the power of the perfect joke." The cast includes Priscilla Shanks as the doctor's sister; Shanks was nominated for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award a year ago for her performance in the Playhouse's production of A Picasso. The production is directed by Michael Evan Haney, the Playhouse's associate artistic director, whose work with scripts like this often brings forth memorable theater. While you might not have heard of this show, it's one you should see. Tickets: 513-421-3888. ...

Don't tell me we don't have top-notch theater locally. The other finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize is also onstage right now. (I suspect there's no other city in the U.S.A. where you can see both shows at this moment in time.) It's Will Eno's THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING), the current production at ENSEMBLE THEATRE OF CINCINNATI (ETC), featuring Ean Sheehy, who played a central role in ETC's premiere of Warren Leight's Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine back in 2000. For more about Eno's intriguing one-man play, see our story on page 42. Tickets: 513-421-3555. ...

The summer of 2006 will see the arrival of a new theater purveyor in the Tristate. Presenting work in the soon-to-be-reopened theater at Covington's Carnegie Arts Center will be JERSEY PRODUCTIONS, the combined operation of artistic director LARRY SMIGLEWSKI and producer/musical director KELLY MARTIN. I spent some time recently with ERIC VOSMEIER, who's the manager of the Carnegie's 450-seat theater space which has been almost completely renovated. My tour went throughout the Carnegie -- a one-time library built in 1904 and now home to art galleries and classrooms -- in addition to the theater. It's going to be a fine venue for theatrical productions. Vosmeier is a Northern Kentucky University grad who's been off doing theater in Houston -- where he worked with Smiglewski and Martin. He convinced them to come her to work, and the three have conspired to create an ambitious summer theater program. (Jersey Productions plans to offer a year-round season eventually.) Plans for 2006 involve three productions: Godspell (June 23-July 8), Ragtime (Aug. 4-19) and Cabaret (Sept. 1-16). Vosmeier says that actors, musicians and technicians will be paid for their contributions to these productions, which bodes well for their quality. More info: www.thecarnegie.com. ...

THE RENEGADE GARAGE PLAYERS recently sent me their occasional newsletter, and it contains a reminder that I want to share with CityBeat readers: The group, which involves people with disabilities who love theater, is also open to people without disabilities. They're presently working on their own production of To Kill A Mockingbird, which they plan to present March 17-19. If you'd like to get involved as a volunteer: 513-328-6300.



contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com
 
 
 
 

 

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