Miki Johnson, playwright of previous Catastrophic hit premieres American Falls and Fleaven, launches Catastrophic's upcoming season with her new play, clean/through.
Nick and Rachel are a couple consumed by love and drugs and very deep sickness. Nick, a semi-famous musician, has recently had a disastrous, potentially career-ending performance. Now he's stuck. If he wants to make the money to support his habit, he has to perform; in order to perform, he has to get clean.
What to do: continue with his life and love as he's known it or walk away?
He walks away.
Nick moves to east L.A. where he can get his fix "right outside my window... right between the bars." There he finds a human bond and kinship with a fellow junkie of a very different pedigree. They provide for one another more than one kind of fix.
And so Rachel is alone. As his sister Annie says, "Nick is good at a lot of things. But do you know what he’s amazing at? Dying. He’s been doing it his whole life."
According to Johnson:
I couldn't stop listening to Elliott Smith is the truth. I couldn't stop listening to him and Wikipedia-ing him and... I was out of control, basically. I mean, I've been with Jason for seven years and Elliott's been dead for ten but I was seriously thinking about running away with him. Ha! But really it is Elliott and my romantic notions about his, well, his, wreckage of a life that started me writing the play. It's not about Elliott Smith. It's about other people. It's about drug addiction and it's about love. Most of my plays in one way or another are about addiction and love, but this one even more than others. It's a sparse kind of play, violent and quiet and hopefully funny and... I'm not a poet at all, and I'm certainly no Elliott Smith, but this is kind of a poem to me, a lot gets left unsaid and that's where a lot of the feeling lives.