2 hours, 25 minutes
Changing the Sheets...
What exactly were doctors thinking back in the 1880s at the dawn of the age of electricity, when they utilized vibrator therapies on their female patients in the name of medical treatment? And what did the women think was happening to them when doctors allayed their so-called 'hysteria' with a very personal newfangled machine? That's what Sarah Ruhl wondered when she set out to write IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play. Hysteria was a real diagnosis, and a quite common one given to women in the Victorian age. Just as common was medical treatment with electrical stimulating machines, the vibrators of the day, to ease their condition!
IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play is a provocative, funny, touching and marvelously entertaining story about a young doctor and his wife. Dr. Givings (Michael Cerveris) is obsessed with the marvels of technology and what they can do for his patients. His wife, Catherine, (Laura Benanti) is only a bystander in her husband's world - listening at the door from the next room as he treats his female patients. Dr. Givings is not sure exactly how the vibrators help the women he treats - but they do keep coming back. The only woman whose problem is not helped by the doctor is his own wife who longs to connect with him - but not electrically.
Three years after her New York debut with The Clean House at the Newhouse, Sarah Ruhl returned to LCT, in our 25th anniversary season, to make her Broadway debut with IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play. Les Waters, who staged the play's acclaimed debut production last season at Berkeley Rep, directed for Broadway.