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John Kinzer
IU Theatre

Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

IU Theatre comedy 'In the Next Room, or the vibrator play' examines a unique moment in history

WHAT: In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. By Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Dale McFadden.
WHEN: Opens Friday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances: Oct. 22, 25-28 at 7:30; Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: All performances take place at the Wells-Metz Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center at 275 N. Jordan Ave. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during performances.
TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for senior citizens; Student Rush Tickets: $10 cash with a valid IU Bloomington student ID on the day of each performance. In the Next Room, or the vibrator play contains mature content.
LECTURE: Thursday, Oct. 20, at 5:30 pm in the Studio Theatre of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, Theatre Circle presents "Good Vibrations," a talk by Debby Herbinick of the Center for Sexual Health.

Oct. 12, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Theatre's 2011-2012 season continues with a production of the Tony Award-nominated comedy In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl. Opening night is Friday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

The play unfolds during the early growth of residential electrical service and centers around the use of the vibrator -- which was then considered a medical device used by doctors to treat women with "hysteria."

"Ultimately, this is a story about intimacy, love and passion for life," said IU Theatre faculty member Dale McFadden, director of the production.

Set in 1875, the play offers an insightful exploration of universal themes and says a lot about life in 2011, said McFadden.

"Sometimes the truth removed to another period has greater resonance than it would if it were communicated in a contemporary setting," he said. "Sarah Ruhl sets the play at the dawn of electricity when the new technology was seen as a way to improve people's lives. But no invention can make people happy, and eventually the characters must face themselves and the people they love as they strive for a fulfilling life."

In the Next Room, or the vibrator play premiered at Berkley Repertory Theatre in 2009 and debuted on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre later that same year; it has since been performed in theaters across the country and internationally. It received a Tony Award nomination for best play and was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Sarah Ruhl, originally from Wilmette, Ill., is a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award. Her plays include Eurydice, Dead Man's Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award) Demeter in the City (NAACP Image award nomination) and The Clean House (Susan Smith Blackburn Award, PEN award, Pulitzer Prize finalist). Her most recent world premiere, Stage Kiss, debuted at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in May.

The cast of In the Next Room, or the vibrator play includes: third-year M.F.A. actor Molly Casey as Mrs. Givings, junior Jacque Emord-Netzley as Mrs. Daldry, first-year M.F.A. actor Clayton Gerrard as Dr. Givings, sophomore Jackson Goldberg as Leo Irving, senior Hannah Kennedy as Annie, sophomore Patricia Millard as Elizabeth and first year M.F.A. actor Adam St. John as Mr. Daldry. Joining director Dale McFadden's creative team are: first-year M.F.A. directing student Lee Cromwell as assistant director, first-year M.F.A. lighting designer Lee Burckes, faculty technical director Paul Brunner, third-year M.F.A. costume designer Jason Orlenko, first-year M.F.A. sound designer Colin Shay and first-year M.F.A. scenic designer Dan Tracy.

Thursday, Oct. 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, Theatre Circle presents "Good Vibrations," in which Debby Herbenick of the Center for Sexual Health will discuss female hysteria and its treatment, especially within the context of the invention of the electrically powered vibrator and Ruhl's play.