Monday, Nov 18, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 12, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 32
In The Next Room a worthwhile comedy
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
In The Next Room a worthwhile comedy

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play

ACT Theatre

Through August 28


The beautifully realized Sarah Ruhl play at ACT Theatre, In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, creates a delightful scenic vision of a 19th-century manor (designed by dependably talented Matthew Smucker) and the doctor and wife who live within. Stunning costumes by Catherine Hunt, subtle sound effects by Brendan Patrick Hogan, and gently satiric lighting - electricity was a brand-new toy - by Ben Zamora, complete the technical achievements of this production.

This astute, historically accurate, and still belly-laugh funny play focuses on the psychological disorder 'hysteria,' which was a mostly female complaint that male doctors thought of as being caused by uteri and a collection of 'unwanted fluid.' Doctors began curing this disease by manually manipulating a woman to 'paroxysms' (or orgasms) to unleash the fluid. The play is set as the development of widespread electricity not only invades parlor rooms to light them up, but also allows for new medical instruments that vibrate, thus saving the doctor from tiresome physical manipulations.

As usual, the ensemble is full of stellar performers with nary a sub-par actor in sight. Director Kurt Beattie succeeds in keeping the prurient aspect of onstage orgasms subtle enough to protect all but the most squeamish from embarrassment. The patients who have to experience orgasms do so in a way that emphasizes surprise rather than intense pleasure. After all, they are experiencing a medical procedure.

The story is about Dr. Givings (a drolly unemotional Jeff Cummings) and his wife Catherine (a wide-eyed and zesty Jennifer Sue Johnson) and his home office where he successfully treats depressives with this new electric manipulation.

Aided by a no-nonsense nurse (Mary Kae Irvin, completely different than her picky wife of A Trip to Bountiful), childless Sabrina Daldry (Deborah King) and artist Leo Irving (Connor Toms) troop in for daily visits with the machine to great success. Their symptoms vanish and they are clearly happier. Also happier is Sabrina's husband (Michael Patten).

This intrigues Catherine, who feels deeply unhappy that she can't feed her newborn with enough milk and is jealous of a wet nurse hired to supplement her (the incomparable and riveting Tracy Michelle Hughes, who steals all attention during her small moments). Catherine determines that she must find out how this treatment might make her feel better.

The only major quibble with the tone of the production is with the (probably directorial) decision for Johnson's Catherine to be embarrassed by her blundering social gaffes. In fact, the play would improve, especially the intention of the heart-warming ending, if she blithely accepted herself and her non-conformist ways. There is a tradition of the 'dotty aunt' character throughout Victorian literature.

As she expresses much more vivacity and sexuality than most Victorian-aged women would be allowed, she 'wins' in the end by finally getting her uptight husband to open up to her. If she doesn't fully accept herself, the ending isn't quite the emotionally fulfilling moment it could be.

A delightful addition to the production is the inclusion of a vibrator museum in the anteroom, courtesy of the folks at Babeland (babeland.com). It's eye-opening.

While it's billed as 'adults only,' due to subject matter, it's really quite sedate and accessible to a large population. There is almost no actual flesh shown, except for a brief, tasteful moment of male nudity at the very end. Have no fear and go see this worthwhile comedy.

For more information, go to www.acttheatre.org or call 206-292-7676.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

SIFF acquires historic Uptown theater
------------------------------
Aleksandra Kurzak's CD debut on Gioia!
------------------------------
Drag Race's glamorous Raven returns to Le Faux
------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Storm vs. Sun game thrilling
------------------------------
In The Next Room a worthwhile comedy
------------------------------
More mature Arctic Monkeys deliver different sound
------------------------------
Wynter time: Pop artist talks music industry burnout, finding her Gay following, and foreshadowing J. Lo's divorce
------------------------------
Yellow Face a smart exploration of race
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
The Help tells the right story
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
OMD, The Drums interviews on deck
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News