Sarah Ruhl’s Electrified Romantic Comedy, IN THE NEXT ROOM, Makes Delaware Premiere

by Patricia Bradford

Wilmington, DE – Bootless Stageworks is proud to present the Delaware premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s award-winning (Glickman Prize, Pulitzer Prize finalist) and Tony nominated play, IN THE NEXT ROOM (OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY). This laugh out loud, provocative and touching play premiered at Berkeley Rep and subsequently marked Sarah Ruhl’s Broadway debut in November 2009.

IN THE NEXT ROOM (OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY) is a romantic comedy about marriage, intimacy, and electricity. Set in the 1880s at the dawn of the age of electricity and based on the bizarre historical fact that doctors used vibrators to treat ‘hysterical’ women (and some men), the play centers on a doctor and his wife and how his new therapy affects their entire household.

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. When a new “hysterical” patient and her husband bring a wet nurse and their own complicated relationship into the doctor’s home, Dr. and Mrs. Givings must examine the nature of their own marriage, and what it truly means to love someone.

“Insightful, fresh and funny, the play is as rich in thought as it is in feeling…one of the most gifted and adventurous American playwrights to emerge in recent years…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

“The playwright mines her subject for suitably bawdy humor without resorting to vulgarity. But what really gives the work its distinction is its sensitive exploration of the physical and emotional repression suffered by the women of the era, which has yet to disappear entirely….The play beautifully balances its humor and pathos.” – Hollywood Reporter

Sarah Ruhl’s recent play Stage Kiss had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 2011. Her plays include: The Clean House (Susan Smith Blackburn award, 2004, finalist for Pulitzer Prize, 2005), Dead Man’s Cell Phone, (Helen Hayes award for best new play), Demeter in the City (nominated for 9 NAACP awards), Eurydice, Melancholy Play, Orlando, a new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and Passion Play (Kennedy Center Fourth Forum Freedom Award).

Bootless Stageworks proudly presents Delaware’s first live performances of IN THE NEXT ROOM with a cast of seven highly talented emerging artists from the tri-state area, including Karina Balfour as Catherine Givings, Matt Dell’Olio as Dr. Givings, Heather Ferrel as Sabrina Daldry, Paul Hayward as Mr. Daldy, Jason Singer as Leo Irving, Meg Falasco as Annie and Kori Beaman as Elizabeth, and under the direction of Rosanne DellAversano.

All performances take place at Bootless Stageworks located within St. Stephen’s Church, 1301 N. Broom St, Wilmington, DE, 19806. The venue offers free parking, full ADA access, and is within walking distance to several Trolley Square restaurants and pubs for pre-show dining and after-show drinks. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

May 6 @ 8:00 pm – PREVIEW SHOW – ALL SEAT $10
May 7 @ 8:00 pm – PREVIEW SHOW – ALL SEAT $10
May 13 @ 8:00 pm – OPENING NIGHT
May 14 @ 8:00 pm
May 15 @ 3:00 pm
May 20 @ 8:00 pm


Bootless Stageworks provides and cultivates theater experiences among people wanting to be entertained intellectually, aesthetically and emotionally through challenging stage presentations. A collaborative company of Emerging Artists and dedicated volunteers, Bootless Stageworks creates artistically original, high-quality theatrical performances for the enrichment of target audiences.

Theater/Organization Bootless Stageworks
Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: 1301 N. Broom Street Wilmington, Delaware 19806 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (302) 887-9300

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