Thursday, March 19, 2009
A stimulating play
Vibrators on Broadway! Sarah Ruhl's *In the Next Room (or, The Vibrator Play)* just finished a run at the Berkeley Rep and is headed to Broadway in November.
Ruhl's premise: At a spa in New York state in the 1890s (and with the use electricity just becoming widespread), what better way to treat women diagnosed with "hysteria" than to provide a little stimulus (of a kind other than economic, if you know what I mean)? It all makes for an obstetrician who becomes very popular with the local housewives.
Ruhl apparently aims to get past the "I'm coming!" jokes to an examination of gender relations and marital miscommunication. Can the premise (and her "hysterical" women) achieve, um, fulfillment?
[ photo: Maria Dizzia, left, and Hannah Cabell in Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)” in Berkeley, Calif.
2/18/09 New York Times, article by Charles Isherwood ]