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In the Next Room (Or the Vibrator Play)

REBECCA JACOBSON
7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays (no show March 10) through March 31., Thursday March 21 | $15-$35.
Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza
1785 NE Sandy Blvd.
 
Myth has it that tablecloths were popular during the Victorian era because they concealed the table’s legs, thus preventing diners from thinking about human legs and, moreover, from thinking about the body parts between those limbs. Whether there’s any accuracy to that claim, the latter half of the 19th century was not a particularly auspicious period for sexual desire. But the sexual politics of that time do make for clever theatrical material, as in Sarah Ruhl’s intelligent and compassionate In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play). Set in the 1880s in upstate New York, Ruhl’s comedy revolves around Dr. Givings (Peter Schuyler), a physician who specializes in curing women of hysteria. Believing that the cause is “congestion in the womb,” Givings employs an electric device—it looks like a cross between a hair dryer and a pistol—to bring these women to “paroxysm.” But Ruhl’s real subjects are the women and their road from sexual repression to awakening. This Triangle Productions staging, directed by Don Horn, plays In the Next Room more for comic effect than for social commentary, and it sometimes feels too safe. But it keeps a fairly lively clip and features some nice supporting performances, namely Andrea White’s vulnerable turn as a wet nurse and Michelle Maida as an empathetic medical assistant.

Where: Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza
Phone: 239-5919
Address: 1785 NE Sandy Blvd.
Website: http://www.tripro.org/23rd-season/index.html

 
 
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