Please note: our Box Office counter at the ADC and Box Office phones lines are now closed for the summer and will re-open on Monday 2nd September 1pm. We will also be open 1pm-8pm on Friday 30th August for the preview of CAST: The Comedy of Errors. Tickets can still be purchased online throughout this period. If you have any issues while booking, please email boxoffice@adctheatre.com.

Directing Sarah Ruhl's 'In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)' for the ADC Stage

Directing Sarah Ruhl's 'In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)' for the ADC Stage

Assistant Producer Sarah Robertson interviews Director Alex Ridley about 'In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)', which opens at the ADC Theatre next week!

What first made you interested in In The Next Room?

As a History of Science student with a particular interest in the history of sexuality, this play immediately appealed to my more nerdy historian side. I also knew it would be a fantastic challenge for some great female actors, as well as for me as a director. It also really appealed to me visually: I think the set, which is meant to show both the operating theatre and the Givings’ living room side by side on stage, with a lot of action happening concurrently in both, will look fantastic on stage, especially with all the period decoration and dress.

What do you think makes this show unique from other ADC Mainshows?

I think most people who first hear the subtitle The Vibrator Play will assume it’s a modern play, and probably quite crude and in-your-face. I think it’s the combination of its subject matter (the vibrator and female sexual pleasure) and setting (1880s upstate New York) that really makes it unique. It has been really fantastic to see some great female parts on the ADC stage recently, and I’m really happy that we get to continue that with In The Next Room.

What has been the highlight of the process for you, getting to dive deep and engage with this show?

The highlight has definitely been working with the actors in the rehearsal room. Often when people first hear about the play their initial reaction is “I couldn’t do that, those actors are so brave,” and it’s true! The actors have been so great at really throwing themselves into their characters and being determined to do them justice. You also can’t really avoid having a bit of a giggle and feeling like you’re getting to know each other better when you’re dealing with all of these themes, and have things like “orgasm workshop” on the rehearsal timetable!

 

And how do you hope for audiences to respond to the more provocative themes and elements of the show?

I think audiences will be surprised that we actually see the vibrator being used on stage, and the resulting orgasms, or “paroxysms” as they were known back then. However, I think they’ll also be surprised by how un-sexual the play actually is! The vibrator was invented and used in a medical setting, and Sarah Ruhl, the playwright, includes reminders in the script that this was a pre-porn world, where these women wouldn’t have had preconceptions as to how they were meant to sound or act during the orgasms. This is something we’ve explored a lot in rehearsals, in order to stay true to the time-period and the characters. I think if an audience member were asked after they’d seen the play what it was about, they’d say something like “well it was about the history of the vibrator, but really it was about marriage, motherhood, sexuality, intimacy…”.

In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) runs from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 May at 7.45pm at the ADC Theatre. Book your tickets here!