In each of these plays, Ruhl wraps her poetic, distinctive voice around issues big and small, from love to death, from passion to religion, connection, power, humor and gender politics. Her work is fresh and different, with liberal helpings of fantasy, wit and intelligence and some seriously interesting female characters.
Locally, you could've seen The Clean House at Heartland, Eurydice at the Station Theatre in Urbana, Passion Play in the Center for the Performing Arts at Illinois State University and Dead Man's Cell Phone at Eureka College. Now director David Ian Lee brings In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) to the CPA at ISU, as well, completing the Ruhl picture.
But his own wife is quite curious about what exactly is going on behind the door into his office, curious enough to talk to his patients and even to sneak into his exam room when he's not there to see what the brouhaha is about. In fact, the image of Catherine Givings with her ear pressed to the door graced the cover of the published script.
At its heart, The Vibrator Play is about more than just vibrators. It's about freedom and repression, about taking ownership of one's own body, about loosening both literal and figurative stays.
Grad students Natalie Blackman and Colin Lawrence will play the Givings for ISU, with Allison Sokolowski as Mrs. Daldry, one of Dr. Givings' patients, Graham Gusloff as Mr. Daldry, Dario Carrion as a male patient who also benefits from the good doctor's ministrations, Kelly Steik as the doctor's helpful office assistant, and Brandi Jones as a wet nurse who provides a different point of view when Catherine Givings needs it.
Performances of In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) begin Thursday, October 2 at the ISU Center for the Performing Arts. For more information on all of ISU's upcoming performances, click here. To find out about buying tickets, click here.