The Clean House: Not Necessarily Comfortable
Last season Transdition, a student-devised piece, perplexed participants and audience. Then Oedipus, a traditional play, challenged actors and audience with its language and script. Betty's Summer Vacation, Moravian Theatre Company's fall 2009 production, pushed in another direction—this time daring the audience to define what is morally offensive.
"The best theatre exists right at the edge," says Christopher Shorr, MTC's artistic director. "It touches boundaries and challenges us to stretch."
Judging by attendance at recent MTC productions (including several sell-out performances), the Moravian community agrees.
MTC's next production, The Clean House, directed by Shorr and opening tonight (Thursday, April 8), promises to serve up more of that mind-stretching content. "We all struggle to maintain order in our lives—this play encourages us to ask about the human tendency to want things in our lives to be neat and orderly. What is the impact of that? What do we miss out on by resisting messiness?"
The audience's perception of reality also is stretched by flashbacks, magic, and imagined future events (all part of playwright Sarah Ruhl's original vision). "It challenges our notions of the way things work on stage," adds Shorr. "When an apple lands in someone's living room, for example, the audience says 'that can't happen.' It calls attention to our need to put things into categories."
While MTC has collaborated with Bethlehem's Touchstone Theatre for previous productions, this is the first time the two companies have worked together as a combined cast. The ensemble features Moravian students Alanah Cervantes '12 and Lauren Taylor '11; Julia Gasdaska '07, assistant director of leadership giving; and Touchstone Theatre's Cathleen O'Malley and Zach Kanner. Touchstone's Emma Chong is stage manager.
PERFORMANCE TIMES: Thursday April 8 at 8 p.m.; Friday April 9 at 8 p.m.; Saturday April 10, 8 p.m.; Sunday April 11, 2 p.m, matinee.