PICT launches its 2012 season with the Pittsburgh premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Pulitzer finalist In the Next Room or the vibrator play. The production features Brad Heberlee as Dr. Givings, Megan McDermott as Catherine Givings, Jessica Frances Dukes as Elizabeth, and Melinda Helfrich as Sabrina Daldry. Alan Stanford directs.
In the Next Room or the vibrator play is a provocative, funny, touching and marvelously entertaining story about a young doctor and his wife. Dr. Givings is obsessed with the marvels of technology and what they can do for his patients. His wife, Catherine, is only a bystander in her husband's world - listening at the door from the next room as he treats his female patients. Dr. Givings is not sure exactly how the vibrators help the women he treats - but they do keep coming back. The only woman whose problem is not helped by the doctor is his own wife who longs to connect with him - but not electrically.
Sarah Ruhl's plays include The Clean House (2005 Pulitzer Prize Finalist; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American Award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man's Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Melancholy Play; Demeter in the City (9 NAACP Image Award nominations), Eurydice; Orlando; and Late: a cowboy song. Her plays have been produced at Lincoln Center Theater, Goodman Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cornerstone Theater, The Wilma Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre, and the Piven Theatre, among others. Her plays have also been produced internationally, and have been translated into Polish, Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean, German and Arabic. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers' Award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She is a recent recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright.
In the Next Room or the vibrator play was inspired by Pittsburgh native Dr. Rachel P. Maines' 1999 book The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," Vibrators and Women's Sexual Satisfaction. Maines' book has been translated into Spanish, French and Italian. It was the basis for the documentary film Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm.
Heberlee has performed with The Civilians, as well as with such companies as Pearl Theatre Company, Atlantic Theatre Company, Soho Rep, Denver Center Theatre Company, Weston Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.
McDermott just finished an acclaimed co-production of Time Stands Still at Delaware Theatre Company and ACT2 Playhouse in Philadelphia. She has worked with such companies as The Wilma Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and McCarter Theatre Center. She is also a company member in PICT's Chekhov Celebration.
Dukes reprises the role she played in the wildly successful Woolly Mammoth production. She comes to Pittsburgh straight from Geva in Rochester, where she performed A Raisin in the Sun.