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In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)
by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Les Waters
originally produced at Berkeley Repertory, Berkeley, CA.
January 30,2009 through March 15, 2009
Subsequent Production by Lincoln Center Theatre at Shubert Theater on Broadway, November 19, 2009.
About the Premiere Production:
This January 2009, Berkeley Repertory Theatre will proudly present the world premiere production of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Associate Artistic Director Les Waters and commissioned by the Theatre in 2005. In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) illuminates the lives of six lonely people seeking relief from a local doctor – but, despite his expertise with a strange new technology, all they really need is intimacy. It’s a tender tale that takes place in the twilight of the Victorian age, an elegant comedy lit by unexpected sparks from the approaching era of electricity, equality, science, and sexuality. The Washington Post declares that “the Golden Ruhl has the Midas touch,” and Smithsonian asserts, “Ruhl, like Dickinson, is a wild original… Even when she tackles darker topics – heartbreak, loss, disease, and death – her touch is light.” The young writer has already earned a MacArthur Fellowship, the Helen Merrill Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.
From Tony Taccone, Artistic Director:
“Beyond its comical veneer, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) seeks to address myriad contradictions surrounding gender and the quixotic nature of desire. The result is a play that is bittersweet: an elegant, disarming, ribald comedy that is unafraid to reveal the melancholy that lives below the surface of every desire. By providing Sarah Ruhl a full set of resources to develop and stage this new play, Berkeley Rep is providing a supportive space for her to continue to expand the scope, depth and quality of her artistic work. Although the play’s title and aspects of its content may initially be perceived as controversial—the play is an excellent piece of art that merits attention and respect. The play also contains several strong roles for women. Although American Theatre has entered the 21st century, there continues to be an alarming shortage of complex, satisfying and artistically challenging roles available for middle-aged actresses. Additionally, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) grapples with questions of gender, sexuality, race and women’s control of their own bodies. These are complicated issues faced by contemporary American society that we doubt will be resolved in the near foreseeable future.”
Set Design:Annie Smart
Lighting Design:Russell Champa
Costume Design:David Zinn
The Bernard Osher Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts (pending)
Playwright Sarah Ruhl (Eurydice, The Clean House, Dead Man’s Cell Phone) will make her Broadway debut with her latest work, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, which is scheduled to begin performances Oct. 22 and officially open Nov. 19 at a Shubert theatre to be announced.
The play marks the Broadway debut for Ruhl, who has won numerous honors, including a MacArthur “Genius” grant. Her other plays include The Clean House (a Pulitzer Prize finalist), Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Passion Play, and Eurydice.