MET presents In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play

May 9, 2014

Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) is proud to present a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist and a 2010 Tony Nominee for Best Play, In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl.  The smart, touching, and hilarious period play will be directed by MET Associate Artistic Director, Julie Herber. In The Next Room will run every Thursday through Sunday at Maryland Ensemble Theatre from May 30 through June 22, 2014.

In The Next Room is set during the Victorian era at the dawn of the age of electricity in a prosperous spa town outside of New York City where Dr. Givings is employing the new technology to remarkable effect in the form of an apparatus used to treat "hysteria".  The extraordinary sounds coming from the office in Dr. Givings' home sparks a curiosity in Mrs. Givings that demands a satisfaction more intimate than any device can provide.

In the Next Room premiered at the Berkley Rep in 2009 and made it to Broadway that same year receiving high praise from critics and audiences alike.  Sarah Ruhl's other plays include, The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005); Passion Play, a cycle; and most recently, Stage Kiss and Dear Elizabeth. Maryland Ensemble Theatre produced her play, Dead Man's Cell Phone in 2011.  She is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama and lives in Brooklyn with her family.  "I've always been a fan of Sarah Ruhl, having worked on MET's Dead Man's Cellphone and a production of Eurydice at Hood College", said In The Next Room director Julie Herber.  "Her use of the fantastical and lyrical in her storytelling is something I'm drawn to.  She sets a great deal of that aside in 'In the Next Room' and approaches the play in a much more realistic nature than is usual for her. However, the essence of the play and its ideas of intimacy and connections we make or do not make certainly display that, especially in many of the characters and their behavior.  One of the wonderful things that theatre artists get to do is step into another time, another place, and another slice of life.  This peek into Victorian life is a wonderful exploration for us."  

Herber will direct a talented cast of actors in MET's production of In the Next Room all of whom are company members of Maryland Ensemble Theatre. The cast is Reiner Prochaska as Dr. Givings, Allison Duvall as Catherine Givings, Lia Seltzer as Sabrina Daldry, Tim Seltzer as Mr. Daldry, Vanessa Strickland as Annie, Rona Mensah as Elizabeth and Jack Evans as Leo Irving.  "The cast is truly a MET ensemble that I'm delighted to be working with. I love working on plays that are loaded with humor and fun, but also speak to us about deeper issues.  The ideas of love, intimacy, marriage and longing flow throughout In the Next Room as well as the titillating laughs that the subject matter evokes!" said Herber.

Herber whose most recent MET directing credits include Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and Antigone will be ably assisted by the design team of Ira Domser (set), Jeanine Evans (properties), Tad Janes and Thom Huenger (sound), Paul Schillinger (lights) and Sherry Shaner (costumes).  

In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play will run every Thursday through Sunday from May 30 through June 22 at MET, located in the historic FSK Hotel at 31 W Patrick Street.  Thursday, May 29 there will be preview performance at 8pm ($5 cash only at door/no reservations). The first Sunday performance will be preceded by a reception hosted by MET Board Members Suzanne Beal, Abby Sievers and Tina Lee and sponsored by The Perfect Blend.