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A joke to die for sits at the heart of 'The Clean House'

Sarah Ruhl’s popular and critically beloved 2004 play “The Clean House,” starring Victoria Perez as a Brazilian maid with a penchant for comedy, opened Friday night in the Road Less Traveled Theatre. The show, which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre and later made its way to the Lincoln Center Theatre in New York City and regional theaters nationwide, explores class, race and comedy through the lens of one peculiar character.

Matilde (Perez) is a reluctant maid on a quest to find the funniest joke in the world. In a strange twist, that quest takes her into the home of two Connecticut doctors in the midst of marital troubles, and the results are at once poignant and funny. Perez, a member of the recently formed Road Less Traveled ensemble, pitched the show to the company’s artistic director Scott Behrend, who said he became an instant fan of the piece and the playwright.

“I think Victoria will be unbelievable in the part,” he said. “It’s gonna be a real highlight of the season.”

Derek Campbell directs a cast that also includes Peter Palmisano, Christina Rausa, Margaret Massman and Mary McMahon.

– Colin Dabkowski

“The Clean House”

When: Through May 12.

Where: Road Less Traveled Theatre, 639 Main St.

Tickets: $17 to $32.

Info: 629-3069 or

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