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Posts tagged ‘Mary Dizzia’


In the Next Room, or the vibrator play

When a play needs to have a parenthetical statement added to its title, that’s a red flag. Particularly when the addition is “or the vibrator play.” It’s a sign that the creative team does not have full faith in their work’s potential to bring in crowds on merit alone. It’s the ‘when in doubt, ‘give ’em shock value’ philosophy.

The problem with adding this subtitle to In the Next Room is that it doesn’t fit the tone of the piece. This jocular addition would better fit the style of a show like Avenue Q or [title of show]. This play by Sarah Ruhl has some jokes, yes; good ones, at that. But at its heart, it is a drama about a historical turning point in the sexual education of adults.

Michael Cerveris plays Dr. Givings, a physician who treats women (and sometimes men) with “hysteria” and anxiety with his “paroxysm” tool, which will in the future be referred to as a vibrator. His wife, played by Laura Benanti, is inquisitive about her husband’s medical treatments, which go on in the room adjacent to the couple’s living room (hence In the Next Room). But her husband is annoyingly rigid about what he divulges about his practices and thus shelters Mrs. Givings. Read more »