In the Next Room

Tori Keenan-Zelt at Edgewood Plantation


Virginia Premiere

Pulitzer Prize Nominee 2010

Best Play Nominee 2010 Tony Award

By: Sarah Ruhl
Director: Steven Koernig

Featuring:  Ed Whitacre, Tori Keenan-Zelt, Steve Holloway, Jenny Taylor, Mary Hardy, Christina Westenberger, and Andrew Collie

Music and Sound: Amy Altadonna

Lighting: Brandon Lyles

Production Manager: Amy Lyles

Costumes: Tom Hammond
Christina Westenberger
Janea Whitacre

May 11, 18, 19 7:30pm Williamsburg Library Theatre

ABOUT THE PLAY  (Courtesy of Samuel French, Inc.)

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.

Tori Keenan-Zelt at Edgewood Plantation

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 Berkeley Rep and subsequently marked Sarah Ruhl’s Broadway debut opening at the Lyceum Theatre on November 19th, 2009. In 2010, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a nominee for the Tony award for Best Play.


SARAH RUHL’s plays include In The Next Room (or the vibrator play); The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2005; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American Award, Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Melancholy Play; Demeter in the City (nine NAACP Image Award nominations); Eurydice; Orlando; and Late: a cowboy song. Her plays have premiered at Lincoln Center Theater, the Goodman Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cornerstone Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre and the Piven Theatre Workshop, and have been produced across the country. Her plays have also been produced internationally and translated into Polish, Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean, German and Arabic. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her MFA from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She is a recent recipient of the PEN CenterAward for a mid-career playwright.