Tag Archives: Sarah Ruhl

First stumble-through for “The Clean House”, March 21

Bloggergal was a little late arriving, and missed the first few minutes of the stumble-through for The Clean House.  ‘Stumble-through’ is theatre parlance for an early run of the play that is expected to be rough.  In many cases, as with this one, the set is not finished; there is minimal tech (essential music cues were provided courtesy of director Ali Joy Richardson’s laptop; and she read out the content of lines that will be projected on the backdrop) or props; and actors are not completely off-book (there were a few calls for “Line!”, which stage manager Lizz Armstrong provided).

Virginia (Annemieke Wade – standing) tries to comfort her sister Lane (Andrea Irwin) in rehearsal shot from “The Clean House”.
Photo: Laura Jabalee Johnston

The other team members in the audience were Assistant Director Nevada Banks, props designer Helen Monroe, set designer Orly Zebak, lighting designer Steph Raposo, set construction assistant Lucy McPhee, sound designer Nick Potter, and producer Laura Jabalee Johnston.

Bloggergal spent much of Act I (which Lizz estimates will run about 50 minutes) noting funny dialogue exchanges – like these, between Matilde (Marina Moreira), an aspiring comedian from Brazil, currently working as a housekeeper in Connecticut.  She is speaking with her employer’s sister, Virginia (Annemieke Wade):

MATILDE (confessing):    I don’t like to clean so much.

VIRGINIA:            I like cleaning.

MATILDE:            Why?

……..

MATILDE:            Do you want to hear a joke?

VIRGINIA:            Not really.

MATILDE:            Why not?

VIRGINIA:            I don’t like to laugh out loud.

Then there was the heartbreaking monologue delivered by Virginia’s sister/Matilde’s employer, Lane (Andrea Irwin), when she learns that her husband is having an affair.  “This is how I imagine my husband and his new wife,” she tells us, as Charles (Neil Silcox) and Ana (Lilia Leon) twine lovingly on a riser* at stage left.      Matilde can see this vision.  “Who are they?” she asks Lane.  “Just my husband and the woman he loves,” Lane replies.  “Don’t worry, they’re only in my imagination.”

In Act II, Neil as the cheating hubby did a very funny striptease as he attempted to join ladylove Ana for a swim – he had not practiced removing all the necessary parts of his costume!  “Just take off the belt,” recommended director Ali.  So Neil whipped off his belt and flourished it dramatically, causing bloggergal and AD Nevada to dissolve into giggles.

Annemieke personified gleeful joy as she… – well, let’s just say she lets loose and does something quite out of character (but scripted) for clean-freak Virginia!

At one point, Lane and Ana were on the balcony, but missing a crucial prop.  Ali called backstage: “Neil, could you just run the fishbowl out?”  But he didn’t just bring the thing out and plunk it down, oh no.  He entered all bundled up in his costume for a later scene, making wind-whooshing noises, and delivered the bowl with another dramatic flourish.  More cracking up ensued in the audience; the actors displayed impressive focus and kept straight faces.

Director Ali Joy Richardson (centre – in dark sweater, back to camera) and assistant director Nevada Banks (left – in horse sweater) give notes to cast of “The Clean House” following March 21 stumble-through. L-R: Lilia Leon, Neil Silcox, Andrea Irwin, Marina Moreira, Annemieke Wade. Photo: Laura Jabalee Johnston.

A delightful taste of what’s to come – in 2-1/2 weeks!

In this script, playwright Sarah Ruhl is a master at making the audience snort with laughter one moment, and be on the verge of tears the next.

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl runs April 7-22 at Alumnae Theatre.

See http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html for team bios and photos, and to purchase tickets.  Also visit the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/

 

       *the riser is standing in tonight for what will become a balcony!

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Sitting in on rehearsal for “The Clean House”, March 5

Somewhat delayed post about the full-cast rehearsal of The Clean House that bloggergal watched on Sunday March 5.

In addition to the actors, director Ali Joy Richardson and stage manager Lizz Armstrong, Assistant Director Nevada Banks was there, and producer Laura Jabalee Johnston arrived later.

Scenes worked on included the serio-comic moment when workaholic doctor Lane (Andrea Irwin) confides to her sister Virginia (Annemieke Wade) that her surgeon husband Charles (Neil Silcox) is having an affair.  Lane also works up to firing her Brazilian housekeeper, Matilde (Marina Moreira), who doesn’t like to clean so much!

Rehearsal shot of Annemieke Wade as Virginia in “The Clean House”. Photo: producer Laura Jabalee Johnston

“Go with your instinct, and we’ll figure out optimum funny,” Ali directed actor Annemieke Wade (Virginia) on a bit of physical comedy.

There was a stumble-through of Act II scene 5 – “the longest scene in the play”, as Ali noted.   In this scene, Charles boldly brings his new “soulmate” Ana (Lilia Leon) to meet his wife.  Virginia and Matilde are there to witness the awkward encounter.

At one point, actor Andrea Irwin (Lane) requested guidance from director Ali Joy Richardson:  “Do you want me to freak out there, or hold the freak-out until…?”

We had a special guest at rehearsal:  Annemieke’s 11-month old daughter Vesper.  AD Nevada entertained Vesper in another room for the most part, but the baby got her on-stage moment in Scene 5.  Annemieke’s character Virginia is supposed to bring drinks for everyone, and Vesper played “the role of the serving tray”, in Ali ‘s words!

Photos of the action courtesy of producer Laura Jabalee Johnston.

Rehearsal shot – Matilde (Marina Moreira) watches as Charles (Neil Silcox) dances with Ana (Lilia Leon).
Photo: Laura Jabalee Johnston

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl runs April 7-22 at Alumnae Theatre.

The web page http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html will be updated this week with team bios and photos, etc.  Also visit the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/

 

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Sitting in on rehearsal for “The Clean House” (Feb 26)

Last Sunday (Feb 26), bloggergal sat in for part of a rehearsal for Alumnae Theatre Company’s production of  The Clean House.   Director Ali Joy Richardson had actors Neil Silcox (married surgeon Charles) and Lilia Leon (his patient, Ana) work some of their scenes together.  I saw them meet in Charles’ office for [what Ali decided was] the first time and be struck simultaneously by Cupid’s arrow.  So sweet and joyous!  I saw them find nuances a scene that occurs later in the play, when Charles’ frantic neediness begins to tire and annoy Ana.

Lovely work from the actors, who took Ali’s insightful and often humorous direction on board, and made beautiful incremental adjustments to their performances.  Stage manager Lizz Armstrong kept everything on schedule, and made blocking and production notes – like necessary props, or the placement of a staircase on the set.

I was not able to stay for the actors’ work with music coach Sam Gaetz (yes, Charles and Ana sing a duet!), but apparently it went very well.

Looking forward to seeing the characters develop.  Will be sitting in on a full-cast rehearsal next Sunday.  clean-house-image

 

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl runs April 7-22 at Alumnae Theatre.  The basic info at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html will be updated shortly with team bios and  photos, etc.  Also check out the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/

 

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First read-through of “The Clean House”, Feb 21

Last night in the lobby* of Alumnae Theatre, director Ali Richardson presented her cast doing a first read-through of the script of The Clean House, the final show in Alumnae Theatre Company’s season.  It was the first time many of the cast had met, but they did an amazing job, aided by producer Laura Jabalee Johnston’s reading of the often-funny stage directions.  Also present for this first read were set designer Orly Zebak, costume designer Daina Valiulis, props designer Helen Monroe, and sound designer Nick Potter.   Stage Manager Lizz Armstrong and Production Manager/lighting designer Steph Raposo unfortunately could not be there; they’re currently working on other shows.  Several Alumnae Theatre Company reps attended by invitation, including bloggergal (yours truly), Alumnae’s President Brenda Darling, and marketing team members Carina Cojeen (who took the photo) and Jeanette Dagger.

Sarah Ruhl’s delightful and semi-mystical play The Clean House was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

L-R: Annemieke Wade (Virginia), Lilia Leon (Ana), Andrea Irwin (Lane), Marina Moreira (Matilde), Laura Jabalee Johnston (producer), Ali Richardson (director) at the first read. Neil Silcox (Charles) would be at far left. Photo: Carina Cojeen.

L-R: Annemieke Wade (Virginia), Lilia Leon (Ana), Andrea Irwin (Lane), Marina Moreira (Matilde), Laura Jabalee Johnston (producer), Ali Richardson (director) at the first read. Neil Silcox (Charles) would be at far left. Photo: Carina Cojeen.

In it, Lane (played by Andrea Irwin) is a buttoned-up workaholic Connecticut doctor who hires a young Brazilian woman, Matilde (Marina Moreira) as her housekeeper.  But Matilde (the Portugese pronounciation is approximately “ma-chil-jee”) hates to clean – she’d rather spend her time coming up with the perfect joke.  Lane’s sister, Virginia (Annemieke Wade), a bored but smart-mouthed stay-at-home wife, is a confidante to both.   Lane’s surgeon husband Charles (Neil Silcox) is mentioned, but conspicuously absent for almost all of Act I.  He shows up in Act II, falling madly in love with one of his patients, Ana (Lilia Leon).  The resulting love triangle was played out both comically and with deep emotion – a beautiful balancing act by the actors, especially at this early stage.

 

Looking forward to seeing this production as it develops in rehearsals!  The finished article will be presented on the Main Stage at Alumnae Theatre, April 7 – 22.

See the Facebook event (https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/) and Alumnae Theatre website for more info and news.

PERFORMANCES:  Wed – Sat at 8pm; Sun 2pm.

TICKETS:  2-for-1 Wed; $20 on Thu/Fri/Sat; PWYC Sun.
Purchase online in advance (http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html), or reserve and pay cash on arrival.  Please note that in-person sales are cash only; no credit or debit cards accepted at Box Office.
RESERVATIONS: 416-364-4170, Box 1 or reservations@alumnaetheatre.com.

 

*because every other space in the building was in use – no kidding!  Rehearsals for New Ideas Festival (opening March 8) on both the 2nd floor and in the Studio; and Toronto Irish Players are renting the mainstage for The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (running to March 4).

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ICYMI: Audition notice for “The Clean House” (submit by Jan 8)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT over the holidays, there are still a few days to submit your headshot and résumé to be considered for an audition for the final production in Alumnae Theatre Company’s season – the April show, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, directed by Ali Joy Richardson.  Deadline to submit is 5pm on Sunday, January 8.  clean-house-script-cover

The Clean House, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, takes place in the home of married doctors whose young Brazilian cleaning lady is fixated on creating the perfect joke. Their strict household unravels when the husband falls in love with one of his patients.
A fast-paced, fearlessly honest, and wildly funny look at class, comedy and the nature of love.

AUDITION DETAILS:
Please submit your headshot and résumé, with a cover note detailing which audition slot(s) you are available for.  Also specify your union status, and whether you are a member of Alumnae Theatre Company.

In the subject line of your email, please include the character you’d like to audition for.
Please read the play before auditioning. Reading copies are available at the 5th floor Performing Arts desk of the Toronto Reference Library.

Sides from the script will be provided to those selected to audition. We would also ask that those auditioning prepare a short joke, in any language.

Audition Slot 1: Saturday January 14:       7pm – 10pm
Audition Slot 2: Sunday January 15:           10am – 1pm
Audition Slot 3: Sunday January 15:          2pm – 5pm
Audition Slot 4: Monday January 16:        7pm-10pm.
Callbacks:  Sunday January 22

Deadline to submit: Sunday January 8th, 2017 at 5pm.
Email applications to: alum.cleanhouse@gmail.com
Contact name: Laura Jabalee Johnston

ROLES:

LANE – F, early 50s.  An important doctor. She wears white. Extremely smart, extremely driven, not extremely happy.
MATILDE – F, late 20s.  Brazilian.  Lane’s cleaning lady. She wears black. She has a refined sense of deadpan. She is confident and wryly matter of fact about the dark parts of life.
     ***Note: Actor must be able to speak basic Portuguese and speak English with a Brazilian accent.
VIRGINIA – F, 50s.  Lane’s older sister. She loves cleaning. Could have been someone important. Hides her disappointment. Tries her best and treats others well, even if they hurt her.
CHARLES – M, 50s.  Lane’s husband. A compassionate surgeon. He is child-like underneath his white coat. Deeply in love in Ana. Wants to save the day.
ANA – F, 60+. She is Argentinean. She is impossibly charismatic. Deeply in love with Charles. She is dying and embracing it. She knows herself.
   ***Note: Actor must be able to deliver text in Spanish 
 

Rehearsals begin late February, part-time schedule.
Venue for auditions, most rehearsals, and the performance (April 7 – 22) is Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley St, Toronto.
 

Please note this is a non-union and non-paying engagement.

Equity and diversity are factored into every casting decision at Alumnae Theatre Company. We encourage and welcome submissions from artists of all genders, ethnicities, and abilities. We would like to thank all applicants for their submissions, but will only contact those applicants to whom we are able to offer an audition.
http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html

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Audition notice for “The Clean House” (submit by Jan 8)

The auditions for New Ideas Festival 2017 take place in the first week of January, and right after that (January 14 – 16) are the auditions for the final show in The Alumnae Theatre Company’s 2016/2017 season.

clean-house-fb-imageThe production team is now accepting submissions for roles in:

The Clean House
by Sarah Ruhl
Director: Ali Joy Richardson
Producers: Laura Jabalee Johnston & Tabitha Keast
Performance dates: April 7-22, 2017

This runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize takes place inside the home of married doctors whose young Brazilian cleaning lady is fixated on creating the perfect joke. Their strict household unravels when the husband falls in love with one of his patients.
This is Sarah Ruhl at her best; The Clean House is a fast-paced, fearlessly honest, and wildly funny look at class, comedy and the nature of love.

AUDITION DETAILS
Sides from the script will be provided to those selected to audition. We would also ask that those auditioning prepare a short joke, in any language.
Please submit your headshot and résumé, with a cover note detailing which audition slot(s) you are available for.  Also specify your union status, and whether you are a member of Alumnae Theatre Company.

In the subject line of your email, please include the character you’d like to audition for.
Please read the play before auditioning. Reading copies are available at the 5th floor Performing Arts desk of the Toronto Reference Library.

Audition Slot 1:
 Saturday January 14th, 2017 from 7pm – 10pm
Audition Slot 2: Sunday January 15th, 2017 from 10am – 1pm
Audition Slot 3: Sunday January 15th, 2017 from 2pm – 5pm
Audition Slot 4: Monday January 16th, 2017 from 7pm-10pm
Callbacks:  Sunday January 22nd, 2017

Deadline to submit: Sunday January 8th, 2017 at 5pm.
Email applications to: alum.cleanhouse@gmail.com
Contact name: Laura Jabalee Johnston

CASTING BREAKDOWNS

LANE – F, early 50s.  An important doctor. She wears white. Extremely smart, extremely driven, not extremely happy.

 

MATILDE – F, late 20s.  Brazilian.  Lane’s cleaning lady. She wears black. She has a refined sense of deadpan. She is confident and wryly matter of fact about the dark parts of life.
     ***Note: Actor must be able to speak basic Portuguese and speak English with a Brazilian accent.
 

VIRGINIA – F, 50s.  Lane’s older sister. She loves cleaning. Could have been someone important. Hides her disappointment. Tries her best and treats others well, even if they hurt her.

 
CHARLES – M, 50s.  Lane’s husband. A compassionate surgeon. He is child-like underneath his white coat. Deeply in love in Ana. Wants to save the day.

 
ANA – F, 60+. She is Argentinean. She is impossibly charismatic. Deeply in love with Charles. She is dying and embracing it. She knows herself.
   ***Note: Actor must be able to deliver text in Spanish 

 

Rehearsals begin late February, part-time schedule.
Venue for auditions, most rehearsals, and the performance is Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St, Toronto).
Please note this is a non-union and non-paying engagement.

 

Equity and diversity are factored into every casting decision at Alumnae Theatre Company. We encourage and welcome submissions from artists of all genders, ethnicities, and abilities. We would like to thank all applicants for their submissions, but will only contact those applicants to whom we are able to offer an audition.
http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html

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Call for Directors for 2016/17 season

Alumnae logoCalling experienced non-union directors! Alumnae Theatre Company invites you to submit a proposal to direct one of these three plays in our 2016/17 season:

 THIS by Melissa James Gibson

September 16 – October 1, 2016

The Gut Girls by Sarah Daniels

(retrospective choice, first presented in Alumnae’s 1997/98 season)

January 20 – February 4, 2017

 

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

April 7 – 22, 2017

 

Application deadline is Thursday, Feb 11, but early submissions are encouraged!

Interviews will be scheduled between Feb 16 – 25 (actual dates TBA) at Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St., Toronto).

Reading copies of the plays are available at the Performing Arts Desk in Toronto Reference Library, 5th floor.

 

To apply: Please send your CV and a brief (max. 6 sentence) letter that summarizes both your directing experience and your interest in one of the programmed plays to Program Committee Chair Joanne Williams at theorytheplay@gmail.com no later than February 11 at 11:59pm.

*SUBJECT LINE of e-mail must include your name and the play title you are interested in pitching to direct.*

Previous experience with Alumnae is not required.

 

Directors selected for an interview will be asked to prepare a proposal outlining your ideas for a full production. (A template detailing what the proposal should include will be provided.) Your written proposal will be due no later than February 14.

 

Please note that Alumnae Theatre Company is a non-union house (volunteer-run and non-profit), and this is a non-paying engagement. We love our Equity and ACTRA friends, but have no budget to pay your fees!

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