Into the Next Fable

Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College continues its season of “Fables and Fairy Tales” with the Southwest Michigan premier of Sarah Ruhl’s award-winning comedy In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play). The play opens Thursday, February 28, in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse and plays through Sunday, March 3. Thursday’s performance begins at 7:30 PM, with Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, and a 2 PM matinee on Sunday. Thursday is “pay what you want.” The other performances cost $15 (adults), $10 (seniors), and $5 (students with ID). The box office opens one hour prior to each performance.

In the Next Room was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. The play is set in 1880s America at the dawn of the age of electricity, and it contains adult subject matter and language. It’s also “a modern fable with its own invention, an electric vibrator,” says Jane Huffman ’15, student dramaturge.

“Catherine Givings listens with great curiosity and wonder at the door of her husband’s medical laboratory,” adds Huffman, “as he successfully treats female patients suffering from ‘hysteria,’ a catch-all anxiety disorder with symptoms ranging from restlessness to ‘causing trouble.’ All the while Catherine sits in the next room, burdened with dissatisfaction.”

In the Next Room is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Karen Berthel, with scene design by Professor of Theatre Arts Lanny Potts, and costume design by Elaine Kauffman. Senior Alden Phillips and sophomore Grace Gilmore, playing the roles of Dr. and Mrs. Givings, lead the cast of K students.