Sarah Ruhl’s play The Clean House addresses the topics of love, betrayal, and loss; and shows – as one review put it – “the funny world of love and relationships”. One of the themes running through the play is laughter: the character of reluctant housecleaner Matilde (Marina Moreira) is an aspiring comedian, constantly trying to come up with the perfect joke.
Producer Laura Jabalee Johnston and assistant director Nevada Banks got ‘laughter coach’ Lynn Himmelman to do a one-hour session for The Clean House audience, pre-show on Thursday evening (April 20).
Lynn, who said she used to be an opera singer, shared with the group an incident showing how laughter helped her overcome the loss of her father. She had everyone do exercises like the Knee Slapper, laughing while pretending to read a credit card bill, and laughing continuously for 60 seconds.
Several people commented on the unexpected workout that laughing gave their ab muscles, and one was heard to mutter, “No more sit-ups, ever again!”
At the end of the session, one participant remarked that “Everyone seems better-looking now!”
Lynn agreed: “Everyone’s light is shining.”
Teresa Bottaro, Alumnae Theatre Company’s Director of Marketing, shot some video of Lynn leading the group in the Knee Slapper exercise.
And I bet the ‘Laughter’ workshop was the reason that this audience had the most vocal response to The Clean House that I’ve seen during the show’s run.
Check out Lynn Himmelman’s website for more info: http://lynn.sites.toronto.com/
The last two performances of The Clean House are at 8pm on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22.