This past Tuesday night, I took in a preview performance of the new Lincoln Center play “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)." I knew nothing about this play beforehand, only that it’s cast included stage veterans like Laura Benanti and Michael Cerveris. My friend and unofficial date for the night, Joey, explained that it was somewhat a history lesson of the first existing vibrators. I was extremely intrigued.
In short, Cerveris played a doctor who would administer "electrical stimulation” (vibrations) to those who he diagnosed as “hysterical." His patients soon become obsessed with the treatment leading his wife (Benanti) to wonder what exactly he is doing in there. Benanti is a new mother who is extremely lonely and a wife who’s husband refuses to see her as anything but his wife. The final scene is outside of their house in the snow, with Benanti undressing Cerveris and trying to break through this wall.
All in all, I enjoyed the show. The second act dragged though, a lot. The way the first act played out, you would’ve thought that it was going to be a comedy all the way through, but how wrong you would be. I wasn’t expecting the dramatic portion and in all honesty, I liked the comedic half of the show better. The set was appropriate and like most Lincoln Center productions, it moves with ease (at the end), and the lighting (at the end) was most effective. The cast was stellar throughout, though I believe Laura Benanti deserves special mention for her comedic timing and delivery.
Not a bad show to check out if you want to learn about the early lives of vibrators!
(Photo courtesy of Playbill.com)