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Photo Flash: First Look at Syracuse Stage's IN THE NEXT ROOM

In the Next Room, or the vibrator play is a fresh and funny new play about love, intimacy, and marriage. It's the 1880s and electricity is all the rage. In a quiet home office, a doctor experiments with a new instrument for treating "hysteria." The device? A vibrator. In this genuinely touching, original, and wickedly funny play, playwright Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House) explores relationships and sexual fulfillment while managing to stay discreetly beneath the crisp white sheets of Victorian propriety.

In the Next Room, or the vibrator play performs Jan. 28 - Feb. 15 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex, 820 East Genesee Street. Discounted preview performances are Jan. 28 and 29. The Opening Night performance is Friday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets and info are available at www.syracusestage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275, and in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office, Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm. Ticket discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at 315-443-9844. Discounts are also available for seniors, students, and U.S. military personnel and veterans. Sign interpretation, open captioning, and audio description services are available for select performances. This play is recommended for mature audiences.

Following its Broadway premiere at Lincoln Center Theatre, In the Next Room was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and received a 2010 Tony nomination for Best Play. In 2014, playwright Sarah Ruhl was the second most produced playwright in the nation. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Ruhl is known for writing adventurous plays that tackle difficult subjects with a sense of humor and heart.

In the Next Room was inspired by a history book called The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel P. Maines, currently a visiting scientist at Cornell University. Maines' book examines the medical condition known as hysteria, and various methods of treatment prescribed by physicians through the centuries. Hysteria was a misguided, catch-all diagnosis that in truth was mostly the normal functioning of female sexuality. [Note: Rachel P. Maines will be the featured speaker for Syracuse Stage's Wed @1 Lecture Series on February 4.]

"I was so shocked and fascinated to find out that doctors treated women with vibrators in the 19th century for hysteria," said Ruhl. "Reading historical accounts, these men were not perverse. They genuinely wanted to help these women, and in a way you have to believe that they did, even as weird and misguided as it seems today... Once I started writing, the characters came to me, and then the relationships got complicated and entangled." (Syracuse Stage Program Book)

The setting of In the Next Room is "a prosperous spa town outside of New York City, perhaps Saratoga Springs," giving Ruhl the opportunity to offer a glimpse of 19th century life in America. Language is spare and polite. Victorian dress is splendid and restrictive. The characters are living post-Civil War at the dawn of electricity.

Distinguished cast members with film, television, and national theatre credits include Mark Junek (Leo Irving), Lena Kaminsky (Annie), Brian Keane (Mr. Daldry), Christopher Kelly (Dr. Givings), Krystel Lucas (Elizabeth), Kate MacCluggage (Sabrina Daldry), and Marianna McClellan (Catherine Givings). Designers include Mikiko SuzukiMacAdams (Scenic Designer), Sarah Cubbage (Costume Designer), Seth Reiser (Lighting Designer), Charles Coes(Co-Composer/Sound Designer), and Nathan A. Roberts (Co-Composer/Sound Designer). The Stage Manager is Laura Jane Collins. The Director is May Adrales. For complete bios, view online.

Photos by Michael Davis

Photo Flash: First Look at Syracuse Stage's IN THE NEXT ROOM
Marianna McClellan (Catherine Givings), Kate MacCluggage (Sabrina Daldry), Brian Keane (Mr. Daldry), and Christopher Kelly (Dr. Givings)

Photo Flash: First Look at Syracuse Stage's IN THE NEXT ROOM
Marianna McClellan (Catherine Givings) and Mark Junek (Leo Irving)

Photo Flash: First Look at Syracuse Stage's IN THE NEXT ROOM
Lena Kaminsky (Annie), Kate MacCluggage (Sabrina Daldry), and Christopher Kelly (Dr. Givings)

Photo Flash: First Look at Syracuse Stage's IN THE NEXT ROOM
Marianna McClellan (Catherine Givings), Lena Kaminsky (Annie), Kate MacCluggage (Sabrina Daldry), and Christopher Kelly (Dr. Givings)

Photo Flash: First Look at Syracuse Stage's IN THE NEXT ROOM
Krystel Lucas (Elizabeth) and Marianna McClellan (Catherine Givings)


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