"The Next Room" will have Tulsa audiences “vibrating” with laughter

Megan Hurley as Catharine Givings in ATC’s production of “The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play”. Photo provided.

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.

See what the buzz is about starting May 12 when Tulsa’s American Theatre Company (ATC) brings In The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.

Adjacent to the doctor's laboratory, his young and energetic wife, Catharine, tries to tend to their newborn daughter - and wonders exactly what is going on in the next room. The time is the dawn of the age of electricity, circa 1880’s in a prosperous spa town outside New York City. This 2009 play by Sarah Ruhl is a provocative, funny, touching and entertaining story about a young doctor and his wife.

Dr. Givings is obsessed with the marvels of technology and what they can do for his patients. His wife is only a bystander in her husband's world, listening at the door from the next room as he treats his female patients.

Dr. Givings is not sure exactly how the vibrators help the women he treats, but they do keep coming back. The only woman whose problem is not helped by the doctor is his own wife, who longs to connect with him, but not electrically.

The New York Timeswrote, "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."

Ruhl made her Broadway debut with this effervescent comedy. She is one of today’s most produced contemporary playwrights. She has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist as well as a recipient of the McArthur Fellowship. Next Room garnered three 2010 Tony Award nominations and was nominated for the 2010 Drama Desk Award.

The cast for the ATC production is directed by Lisa Wilson and stars Megan Hurley as Catherine Givings and Thomas Hunt as Dr. Givings. Others in the cast include Angela McLaughlin, Karlena Riggs, Kurt Harris, Kimberly Manning and James Hefner. With scenery by Richard Ellis, the lighting design by Keith Sowinski, the costume designs by Crista Patrick and sound design by Laurie Carlson.

The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play runs May 12-20 in the Tulsa PAC’s Doenges Theatre. Tickets are $18 to $26 and may be purchased at MyTicketOffice.com or by calling (918) 596-7111. Evening performances are at 8 p.m. with a matinee curtain time of 2 p.m. Recommended for mature audiences.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – May 5, 2017  @ 10:40 a.m.