Sarah Ruhl’s ‘In the Next Room’ Gets Nashville ABE-ACT 1 Premiere

In the Next Room PosterActors Bridge Ensemble and Artists’ Cooperative Theatre (ACT 1) will present the Nashville premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) March 7-16.

Directed by Actors Bridge Artistic Associate Jessika Malone, In the Next Room is a comedy about marriage, intimacy, and electricity. 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. The arrival of a particular new patient forces Dr. and Mrs. Givings to examine not only the nature of their own marriage but also what it truly means to love someone.

The production stars Cassie Hamilton, Tony Nappo, Kara McLeland, Randal Cooper, LaToya Gardner, Conway Preston and Ellen Lawrence.

Of the unique partnership with Actors Bridge, ACT 1 Executive Director Eric Ventress says, “I’m thrilled to have Jessika directing for us this season. I’ve long been a fan of her direction, especially her fantastic production of Ruhl’s Eurydice in 2011, and am excited about the enthusiasm she brings to the show and the fresh ideas and energy that our partnership with Actors Bridge Ensemble brings to the entire production.”

ABE Producing Artistic Director Vali Forrister adds, “We are always looking for strong opportunities to collaborate with other arts organizations to better utilize resources and cross-fertilize our audiences. When ACT 1 approached us about partnering on the Nashville premiere of In the Next Room we knew it was a great fit. Their intimate space at the Darkhorse Theater is perfectly suited for this story and Jessika is its perfect director.”

In the Next Room was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Nominee for Best Play. Here are some reactions to its 2009 New York production, which was directed by current Actors Theatre of Louisville Artistic Director Les Waters:

“In the Next Room is a true novelty: a sex comedy designed not for sniggering teenage boys — or grown men who wish they were still sniggering teenage boys — but for adults with open hearts and minds.” – The New York Times

“A play that’s smart, delicate and very, very funny!” – New York Post

“If Henrik Ibsen and Oscar Wilde had decided to collaborate on a post-modern drawing-room comedy, the hotsy-totsy twosome surely would have turned out something very much like Sarah Ruhl’s genuinely hysterical new work” – TheatreMania

Performances are Thursdays-Sundays, March 7-10 and 14-16 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays at Darkhorse Theater (4610 Charlotte Ave.). Tickets are $15 and available by clicking here.

*Poster image courtesy Actors Bridge Ensemble and ACT 1.

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