Occasional Play Reading Series: "In the Next Room," or "The Vibrator Play"

March 23, 2015 - 7:00pm
RCAH Theater
362 Bogue Street, Snyder-Phillips Hall
East Lansing, MI 48825
United States

On Monday, March 23, the RCAH community is invited to the Occasional Play Reading Series, a periodic gathering of students, faculty, and staff in the RCAH Theater for reading, improvisation, and conversation. March's selected play is "In the Next Room," or "The Vibrator Play," by Sarah Ruhl. Each event in the series is free and will begin at 7 p.m. If you're interested in reading, contact RCAH professor Lisa Biggs in advance at biggslis@msu.edu or at the start of the event.

The upcoming dates for spring semester include:

  • April 2: "The World of Extreme Happiness," by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

About "In the Next Room," or "The Vibrator Play"

As a counterpoint or compliment to the annual Women’s History Month Celebrations, including the ritual of the Vagina Monologues, I encourage us to read In the Next Room…, a critically-acclaimed, historical treatment of women’s changing gender roles in the U.S. 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. In the Next Room… investigates one chapter in the history of science. Without indulging in pornographic displays or reproducing degrading spectacles of women’s bodies, it seriously addresses medical science’s sincere efforts to cure this once chronic illness and the conditions that gave it rise.