In The Next Room, or the vibrator playSeason: 08 - 11 June 20116Playhouse, The Canberra TheatreLondon Circuit, Canberra City ACTDirector: Pamela Rabe
Josh McConville, Mandy McElhinney, Jacqueline McKenzie, Marshall Napier, DavidRoberts, Helen Thomson & Sara Zwangobani
Set in the 1880s, Dr Givings (played by David Roberts), of American playwrightSarah Ruhl’s ‘In The Next Room, or the vibrator play,’ discovered a ratherfascinating and perplexing fact in which, he unwittingly adjure to one of his malepatient, Leo Irving, an artist (played by Josh McConville) with his opinion, that:
"[ha!] what men do not perceive because their intellect prevents them from seeingwould fill a book!"
And how right you are, Dr Givings, the (pre) inventor of what would be known (indue course) to mankind in the Western world as the “vibrator.” How kind of you, DrGivings, to share this remarkable, and yet so very delightful insight with(unassuming) Canberra audiences –
over four nights
– which made this indulgenteven more wicked! No, no, no, Mr Givings – the giver of all good things –
the pleasure was all mine ;)
Needless to say, Ruhl’s “vibrator play” (and yes, for Albee, I chose: “Who isSylvia?”) explores the speculative view that perhaps way back in Franklin days (justafter the kite & key experiment) American doctors may have once used “vibrators”to perform clinical duties on women to treat hysteria -
oh doctors, behave!
Nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards, Sarah Ruhl’s “craftsmanship” of hervibrator play, was exquisite, impeccable – superb even –she delivered an intelligent,sophisticated, charming, and witty instrument for us to explore the female psycheon love, loss, intimacy, rejection, marriage, and perhaps abandonment;
managingto hit all the right notes ;)
with moments of inquisitiveness, fright, shame,embarrassment, suspicion and hilarity. Ruhl’s play invites us to embark on herheroine’s journey, that of Dr Giving’s wife, Catherine (played by JacquelineMcKenzie) to explore these themes to determine what that missing element wasthat she couldn’t quite put her finger on;) A restless and a troubled soul, shequestions her happiness as she shares her thoughts (and feelings) with some of herhusband’s patients she came across: Sabrina Daldry (played by Helen Thompson),Leo Irving, as well as her wet nurse Elizabeth (played by Sara Zwangobani); with