A moving and funny new play exploring the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between.
“The Clean House is not, by any means, a traditional boy-meets-girl story. In fact disease, death, and dirt are among the subjects it addresses. This comedy is romantic, deeply so, but in the more arcane sense of the word: visionary, tinged with fantasy, extravagant in feeling, maybe a little nuts.”—The New York Times
“Touching, inventive, invigoratingly compact, and luminously liquid, Eurydice reframes the ancient myth of ill-fated love to focus not on the bereaved musician but on his dead bride—and on her struggle with love beyond the grave.”—San Francisco Chronicle
This volume is the first publication of Sarah Ruhl, “a playwright with a unique comic voice, perspective, and sense of theater” (Variety), who is fast leaving her mark on the American stage. In the award-winning Clean House—a play of uncommon romance and uncommon comedy—a maid who hates cleaning dreams about creating the perfect joke, while a doctor who treats cancer leaves his heart inside one of his patients. This volume also includes Eurydice, Ruhl’s reinvention of the tragic Greek tale of love and loss, together with a third play still to be named.
Sarah Ruhl received the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004 for her play The Clean House, which has been produced at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Her play Eurydice has been produced at Madison Repertory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
“Sarah Ruhl’s bold, inventive, and ironic triptych [is] a meditation on devotion and its appropriation by the state. . . . Ruhl is an original; a storyteller with a fine mind evolving her own theatrical idiom.”—John Lahr, The New Yorker
“It’s a different kind of morality play . . . an often wondrous work . . . with [Ruhl’s] own special lyrical blend of poetry, humor and grace.”—Frank Rizzo, Variety
Passion Play is Sarah Ruhl’s “biggest, most ambitious effort yet” (The New York Times), a three-and-a-half hour intimate epic, plunging the depths of the timely intersection of politics and religion. Ruhl dramatizes a community of players rehearsing their annual staging of the Easter Passion in three different eras: 1575 northern England, just before Queen Elizabeth outlaws the ritual; 1934 Oberammergua, Bavaria, as Hitler is rising to power; and Spearfish, South Dakota, from the time of Vietnam through Reagan’s presidency. In each period, the players grapple in different ways with the transformative nature of art, and politics are never far in the background, as Queen Elizabeth, Hitler, and Reagan each appear, played by a single commanding actor.
Sarah Ruhl’s plays include Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Eurydice, and The Clean House, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been widely produced both throughout the country and internationally, and she is the recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
The Oldest Boy is a richly emotional journey filled with music, dance, puppetry, ritual, and laughter—Sarah Ruhl at her imaginative best. A meditation on attachment and unconditional love, the play asks us to believe in a world in which sometimes the youngest children are also the oldest and wisest teachers.