The Critics LOVE RVP’s Production of “The Clean House!”

The Clean House Ross Valley Players

Critics can’t get enough of our current production of Sarah Ruhl’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Clean House. Barry Willis has awarded the show five stars and called it a “near perfect theatrical experience.”

“On rare occasions, theater  critics face the happy task of reviewing a production about which nothing negative can be said. Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, now at Ross Valley Players, is such a production — one whose script, casting, set, direction and pacing combine in a near-perfect theatrical experience.

A love triangle with heartache to follow is among the oldest stories on earth, of course, but Ruhl takes this basic setup into such unexpected and profound territory that it becomes an often comic riff on issues of attachment, expectation, friendship, love, devotion and death — all of it so deftly interwoven that poignancy lingers long after the final scene.

The show moves along briskly without feeling rushed, and with appropriate changes in tempo that amplify the playwright’s emotional roller-coaster. David Shirk’s elegant set enables multiple scenes — scenes-within-scenes and cutaway bits — without the need to change anything. A projection screen cleverly displays translations or descriptions, like the text inserted between shots in old silent movies. Sound designer James Ard has chosen a couple of gorgeous operatic arias for key scenes, yielding an emotional resonance not possible from actors alone, no matter how talented.

But make no mistake — this is one talented troupe. Director JoAnne Winter extracts a glorious synergy from an incredibly well-balanced cast. A production that’s a welcome departure from RVP’s tried-and-true repertoire, “The Clean House” goes in many unexpected directions, but all of them make a sort of believable, empathetic and ultimately satisfying sense. A standout among a handful of “best of” Bay Area shows so far this year, RVP’s production is quirky, beautiful, brilliant — and not to be missed.”
-Barry Willis, Marin Independent Journal (read the full review HERE)

“I’m sure I wasn’t meant to immediately get some ruminations within the play. Or ever. Some enlightenment might have been expected to arrive hours — or days later. After all, Ruhl originally wanted to be a poet, and much poetry is initially unfathomable or mysterious, right? Like an elongated Portuguese joke never translated.

I surely wasn’t sure what I thought of the whole eccentric, moving enchilada while watching it, nor instantly after exiting. Yet the next morning I recognized it had a deliciously subtle, flavorful aftertaste. One that absolutely left me looking forward to the Bay Area’s next show by Ruhl.”
Woody Weingarten, Marinscope (read the full review HERE)

The Clean House runs now through June 14, 2015. Get your tickets online HERE or by visiting our website at Special talk back with director JoAnne Winter on Sunday, May 24 and 31 following the matinee performance.

Photo by Gregg Le Blanc / Cumulus Light Photography.


Opening Weekend Festivities at Ross Valley Players!

Do you like to be the first person to see the show? Join us for a specially discounted preview performance on Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are only $15 ($10 for Students and Youth). Click here to purchase!

Opening Night
The Clean House opens on Friday, May 15th at 8 pm. If you are an 85th Season Subscriber, an Opening Night Reception with hors d’oeuvres and wine is included in the price of all season subscriptions. The fun starts at 7 pm. Meet the director JoAnne Winter, schmooze with members of Ross Valley Players’ Board of Directors, and claim the best seats in the house!

Not a Season Subscriber, but still want to join in the celebration? All Opening Night tickets include a sparkling wine beverage post show. Get your Opening  Night tickets here!

Buzz at the Barn
A beloved tradition, Buzz at the Barn returns this Saturday, May 16 at 7 pm. Join us for sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres, included in the price of all tickets on the first Saturday of our run. Purchase your tickets here!

We hope that you’ll join us for opening weekend, and that you’ll help spread the word about our show. Ross Valley Players strives to create professional-level, quality theatre for our community, and we thank you for your support!


A Note from the Director

joanne-200x300 “How to describe The Clean House? A Portuguese cleaning woman, the progression of dust, medieval love songs about surgery? Its disparate elements make it impossible to conveny the elegant beauty, the simple joy, and the tragic humanity of this play. If you want to believe the world is awful, well, there’s plenty of evidence to prove your point. But, there is just as much evidence to the contrary. Life holds such sublime beauty, such sheer, absurd fun, such glorious music and delicious flavors. Everyone is a mess, broken, needy, and frightened. We may not ever fully understand the jokes life plays on us. So maybe it’s better to just have a good laugh, go apple picking, and eat homemade chocolate ice cream.

I have loved exploring this play with this wonderful and talented cast, and design team. It is a joy to be reminded every day to embrace the messiness of life – to let go, and dive in. Many thanks to the RVP staff and volunteers for this wonderful opportunity to share this play with you.”

JoAnne Winter (Director) is a Bay Area director and actor. In 1993 she co-founded Word for Word Performing Arts Company, a theatre company that creates performances from short fiction and poetry. In the past 22 years, as Co-Artistic Director, she has produced over 100 shows and readings, as well as performed and directed for both Word for Word and other Bay Area theaters. She is also the director of Youth Arts, Word for Word’s arts education program and has produced 10 years of the YA School & Library Tour. She oversees scores of WfW workshops with students in Bay Area schools. As a WfW actor, she has originated roles in 36 Stories by Sam Shepard, In Friendship, John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven (a co-production with Cal Shakes and Octavio Solis), Three On a Party, Three Blooms, among many others. As a director, her favorite shows include Word for Word’s Wants and A Conversation With My Father by Grace Paley, Spring Rain by Bernard Malamud, and Ancestor by Greg Sarris. She is very pleased to be making her RVP debut with this lovely play by Sarah Ruhl.

Meet the Cast: Steven Price

steveSteve Price (A Man/Charles) most recently played Egeon in The Comedy of Errors at The College of Marin, directed by James Dunn. At RVP he appeared in Persuasion directed by Mary Ann Rogers, as well as the award-winning Journey’s End, Harvey, Pack of Lies, Greater Tuna and To Kill A Mockingbird. Steve will be playing the roles of Hastings and The Lord Mayor this summer in Richard III in Forest Meadows at the Marin Shakespeare Festival, directed by Bob Currier.

The Clean House opens May 15 and runs through June 14. Tickets are available here. Visit our website for more information about the show and the Ross Valley Players.

Meet the Cast: Sumi Narendran

sumiSumi Narendran (A Woman/Ana) is thrilled to be back at Ross Valley Players where she performed in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Fox on the Fairway. Sumi’s childhood dream was to be an actor and she considers herself blessed to be able to do what she loves. She dedicates this performance to Trungta Kositchaimongkol for being impossibly multi-talented coupled with supreme professionalism and humility.

The Clean House opens May 15 and runs through June 14. Tickets are available here. Visit our website for more information about the show and the Ross Valley Players.

Meet the Cast: Tamar Cohn

tamarTamar Cohn (Virginia). Since her last performance at RVP (The Middle Ages), Tamar has performed with Theatre Rhinoceros (The Anarchist, The Habit of Art, 100 Saints You Should Know), Central Works (Recipe), Cutting Ball Theater (The Chairs), and Brava Theater (The Oldest Profession). Other companies include Center REP, California Conservatory Theatre, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Alter Theater, 6th St. Playhouse, Pacific Alliance Stage Co., Woman’s Will, and others. She has received acting nominations from the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and been in productions honored as best ensemble finalists. She is glad to be closer to home this time to work with this ensemble on such a unique play.

The Clean House opens May 15 and runs through June 14. Tickets are available here. Visit our website for more information about the show and the Ross Valley Players.

Meet the Cast: Livia Demarchi

liviaLivia Demarchi (Matilde) is thrilled to return to Ross Valley Players after having performed in a Pack of Lies directed by Molly Noble. Livia has recently worked with SF Playhouse (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Marin Shakespeare Company (As You Like It), Alter Theater Ensemble (The River Bride), SF Shakes (Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet), Theater Rhinoceros, and Sonoma County Rep among others. She has trained at the Macunaíma Theater Conservatory in her home town of São Paulo, Brazil, at the American Conservatory Theater, College of Marin, Seydways Studios and with private coaches. She would like to dedicate this performance to her beloved mother Ana Lúcia, who is seeing her onstage for the first time in this play. Te amo mãe, obrigada por tudo!

The Clean House opens May 15 and runs through June 14. Tickets are available here. Visit our website for more information about the show and the Ross Valley Players.