The Vibrator Play: The Doctor Will Please You Now
But comedy about docs treating 'hysterical' women is 'very discreet'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 9:25 AM CST
A scene from "In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play" is shown.   (Lincoln Center Theater)
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(Newser) In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play? Why, yes, it is about exactly that—but playwright Sarah Ruhl says that “a lot of it happens under a sheet,” making the comedy “very discreet.” The play, about a 19th-century doctor who treats female patients using a newfangled electrical device and the wife who wonders what all the noise in the next room is about, was inspired by Ruhl’s reading The Technology of Orgasm, NPR reports.

Doctors once treated female “hysteria”—“irritability, sleeplessness, anger,” says one of the actors—through orgasm. The Vibrator Play focuses on the doctor’s wife, who doesn’t understand what’s going on because “these are sounds that she’s never heard before—never from herself,” says another actor. “I loved the innocence of it, the not-knowingness of it,” says Ruhl. “Having women try to describe, in physical terms, what an orgasm was without having the terminology.”