Ruhl’s In the Next Room Opens in Anderson Thursday

Posted on May 12th, 2015 by

Hannah Enright '15 (Photography by Annie Galloway '15)

Hannah Enright ’15 (Photography by Annie Galloway ’15)

The Department of Theatre and Dance at Gustavus presents its final main stage performance of the year, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, May 14-16 at 8:00 p.m. and May 17 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for the Anderson Theatre production are available online at

In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play has been creating quite a buzz on the Campus this spring. Directed by Theatre and Dance Department faculty member Henry MacCarthy, In the Next Room is sure to leave you laughing, blushing, and thirsty to learn more about a little-known historical fact: the personal massager, or vibrator, was developed by doctors to treat patients with hysteria. Yes, you read that right. Vibrators were a medical instrument to treat women who were suffering from hysteria, which symptoms included light sensitivity, teeth chattering, fluid retention, and sexual deviance among a wide array of other maladies. Full of sexual tension, intrigue, and quack-worthy medical devices, this sexual comedy entertains and educates audiences to further understand what it meant to be “hysterical” before the turn of the century.

This production of In the Next Room takes us to late 19th century upstate New York, to the medical practice of an electricity-obsessed doctor, Mr. Givings, played by Gustavus sophomore Elijah Sciammas. His patient, Sabrina Dawldry, is played by senior theatre honors major, Hannah Enright. Two soon-to-be Gustavus graduates, Kit Baumer and Bethany Davidson, designed the lighting and costuming for the production as their own theatre honors projects. For their respective projects, these three women have researched for almost a year as they approach the denouement of their tenure at Gustavus.

The staging of this particular show has very little seating — only 70 seats available per performance. The Anderson Theatre stage has been transformed to accommodate the creative dollhouse-like set design of guest designer Kristin Ellert. The entirety of the production is set in the proscenium. The audience will be seated on the thrust of the stage. (This production involves adult themes, nudity, and the use of primitive sex toys. It is not suitable for children.)

In the Next Room will be presented in Anderson Theatre May 14-16 starting at 8:00 p.m., with a matinee performance on May 17 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at


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