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In the next room, or, the vibrator play by…
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In the next room, or, the vibrator play (edition 2010)

by Sarah Ruhl

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593200,849 (3.78)4
Member:jonathan.warman
Title:In the next room, or, the vibrator play
Authors:Sarah Ruhl
Info:New York : Samuel French, Inc., c2010.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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In the Next Room or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl

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Sarah Ruhl is one of my favorite playwrights. I saw this show on Broadway and loved it - reading it now, nearly two years later, is like going back and revisiting a lovely historical moment. It isn't her best play - but it is her most mature and certainly a sign of the truly great things to come as she melds the fantastic nature of her earlier works with a more 'grown-up' sensibility and more 'traditional' staging requirements. ( )
  drewsof | Jul 9, 2013 |
I saw this on Broadway, and it blew my mind. So when I got this as a New Year's present, I was utterly thrilled; even if all it did was remind me of the gorgeous moments, I would have been happy.

It plays better than it reads. I'm fascinated by how Ruhl formats her dialogue, more like free verse than drama, and her stage directions owe more to Shaw than Stoppard, shall we say.

Worth checking out if you're a Ruhl fan or good at telling how scripts work on the stage. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |
In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play is a Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominated work written by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Sarah Ruhl. It will not be playing at a community theater near you any time soon.

[In the Next Room] is set in an upstate New York spa town, along the lines of Saratoga Springs, in the 1880s. Electricity is available, but still something wondrous to most. Ruhl examines the roles of wife and mother, race, marital relations, and the fascination of electricity. She weaves her story around the framework of a doctor who treats his patients for hysteria (or depression) by bringing them to orgasm with an electric vibrator. The characters include the doctor, his wife, their child’s African American wet nurse, two of the doctor’s patients (a man and a woman) and the female patient’s husband.

In her comments, Ruhl clearly states that medical practices and equipment she used in the play are historically accurate; the mundane interactions between the characters are her only inventions. Ruhl’s depiction of the frustrations and limitations of society’s imposed gender roles and expectations for marriage is very powerful, but I think many readers and theater goers will miss the some of the beauty of her work because of their shock at what’s happening on stage. While there is only limited nudity, medical treatments are conducted in view of the audience.

If you get a chance to see it, do so; barring that, it's well worth reading.
2 vote Dejah_Thoris | May 6, 2012 |
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To my husband. For the garden on Hope Street.
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MRS. GIVINGS
Look baby, it's light!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0573698139, Paperback)

Characters: 3m, 4f / Interior In the Next Room or the vibrator play is a comedy about marriage, intimacy, and electricity. Set in the 1880s at the dawn of the age of electricity and based on the bizarre historical fact that doctors used vibrators to treat 'hysterical' women (and some men), the play centers on a doctor and his wife and how his new therapy affects their entire household. In a seemingly perfect, well-to-do Victorian home, proper gentleman and scientist Dr. Givings has innocently invented an extraordinary new device for treating "hysteria" in women (and occasionally men): the vibrator. Adjacent to the doctor's laboratory, his young and energetic wife tries to tend to their newborn daughter-and wonders exactly what is going on in the next room. When a new "hysterical" patient and her husband bring a wet nurse and their own complicated relationship into the doctor's home, Dr. and Mrs. Givings must examine the nature of their own marriage, and what it truly means to love someone. This laugh out loud, provocative and touching play premiered at Berkely Rep and subsequently marked Sarah Ruhl's Broadway debut opening at the Lyceum Theatre on November 19th, 2009. Winner! 2010 Will Glickman Award for Best New Play to Premiere in the Bay Area! "Insightful, fresh and funny, the play is as rich in thought as it is in feeling...one of the most gifted and adventurous American playwrights to emerge in recent years...In the Next Room is a true novelty: a sex comedy designed not for sniggering teenage boys - or grown men who wish they were still sniggering teenage boys - but for adults with open hearts and minds." -New York Times "A play that's smart, delicate and very, very funny!" -New York Post "If Henrik Ibsen and Oscar Wilde had decided to collaborate on a post-modern drawing-room comedy, the hotsy-totsy twosome surely would have turned out something very much like Sarah Ruhl's genuinely hysterical new work" -Theatremania "Sarah Ruhl, whose previous work I execrated, has written a smart, charming, iridescently funny-serious jewel...As Ruhl traces it with wit and insight, and without the slightest prurience, the birth of this new era gives rise to colorful events, astute psychological revelations and endearingly apt dialogue." -Bloomberg "The playwright mines her subject for suitably bawdy humor without resorting to vulgarity. But what really gives the work its distinction is its sensitive exploration of the physical and emotional repression suffered by the women of the era, which has yet to disappear entirely....The play beautifully balances its humor and pathos." -Hollywood Reporter

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:32 -0400)

"In a seemingly perfect, well-to-do Victorian home, proper gentleman and scientist Dr. Givings has innocently invented an extraordinary new device for treating "hysteria" in women (and occasionally men): the vibrator. Adjacent to the doctor's laboratory, his young and energetic wife tries to tend to their newborn daughter--and wonders exactly what is going on in the next room. When a new "hysterical" patient and her husband bring a wet nurse and their own complicated relationship into the doctor's home, Dr. and Mrs. Givings must examine the nature of their own marriage, and what it truly means to love someone."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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