San Diego REPertory Theatre Explores What Women Really Want with “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)”

San Diego REPertory Theatre Explores What Women Really Want with “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)”
February, 2011 Client News

SAN DIEGO – Feb. 11, 2011 – San Diego REPertory Theatre presents In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) for their next production on the Lyceum Stage. The production, a San Diego premiere, begins previews on March 19, opens on March 25 and runs through April 17, 2011. In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) is the work of award-winning playwright and MacArthur Genius Award winner Sarah Ruhl. The New York Times says Ruhl is “one of the most gifted and adventurous American playwrights of our time.”

In The Next Room (or the vibrator play) is a tender, funny and intimate exploration of desire, equality, motherhood, fertility, intimacy and marriage. Nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Ruhl’s new work is a sex comedy for adults with open hearts and minds. Directed by REP Artistic Director and Co-Founder Sam Woodhouse, San Diego REP’s production of In The Next Room lovingly invites audiences to explore the conundrums of intimacy, equality, marriage, motherhood and sensory experience. Critics raved when it opened on Broadway at the Lincoln Center Theatre in October 2009, calling it “inspired and brilliant” (The New Yorker) and “shamelessly entertaining!” (New York Magazine).

Inspired by historical fact, In The Next Room is set in Victorian America when middle-class morality proclaimed women didn’t enjoy sex and a wide range of “female problems” were classified as hysteria. In an upstate New York spa town, just after Thomas Edison’s discovery of electricity, a gynecologist treats these problems in his home office through the use of a newly designed (and effective!) electric vibrator. Dr. Givings is not quite sure how the vibrators help the women he treats, but they do keep coming back for more. In the room next door, his own wife yearns for what’s missing and dreams of what her marriage and life could become. In The Next Room is recommended for mature audiences.

Starring Francis Gercke as Dr. Givings and Aubrey Saverino as Catherine Givings, the seven smart characters of In The Next Room are each on their own spirited quest for new possibilities and happiness, immersed in the mysteries of gender and the politics of desire. While the foundation of the story is about sexuality, Ruhl is much more concerned with what women want.

Francis Gercke (Dr. Givings) returns in his third production with San Diego REP, previously appearing in Proof and Merchant of Venice. Gercke is a co-founder of New Village Arts and a resident artist with Cygnet Theatre. His local credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Number (Cygnet Theatre); Ring Round the Moon (Moonlight Theatre); Hurlyburly (Ion Theatre); True West, Three Sisters, Crimes of the Heart, A Lie of the Mind, Orphans, The Waverly Gallery (New Village Arts); A Life in the Theatre (NCRT). Regionally, Gercke has appeared in the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and with National Players.

Aubrey Saverino (Catherine Givings) debuts on the REP stage with In The Next Room. Saverino’s acting career spans regionally in San Diego and Los Angeles, appearing in King Lear (nominee for a San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award), Twelfth Night, The Madness of King George and Coriolanus at The Old Globe; Romeo and Juliet (El Portal Theatre); An Impending Rupture of the Belly (Furious Theatre Company); Nicholas Nickleby (The Production Company); Inventing Van Gogh, The Imaginary Cuckold (The Chance Theater), among others.

Willow Geer (Sabrina Daldry) is excited to be performing with the San Diego REPertory Theatre for the first time. Geer earned a bachelor of arts in theater from University of California, Los Angeles and has studied under the Judi Dench Patroned, London Academy of Theater and Globe Theater in London.  She has toured around the world singing with The Bird and the Bee, picking up television, film and voice-over credits along the way. She has played at the Odyssey Theatre with the Independent Shakespeare Company and The Colony Theater in Los Angeles.  She is a life-long company member of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum.

Lisel Gorell-Getz (Annie) previously appeared at San Diego REP in Intimate Apparel. An artistic associate at MOXIE Theatre, Gorell-Getz has appeared on various San Diego stages, including, Mo’olelo Performing Arts, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Sledgehammer, Diversionary Theatre, New Village Arts, Moonlight Stage Productions, and 6th@Penn.

Brian Mackey (Leo Irving) makes his debut at the REP with In The Next Room. Locally, Mackey has appeared at North Coast Repertory Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, ion Theatre, Diversionary Theater, Mo’olelo, New Village Arts, BANG!, Coronado Playhouse, and Playwright’s Project. Regional work includes productions with Cinnabar Theatre, Actor’s Theatre and ABYDOS Theatre. Mackey is a Resident Artist with ion Theatre.

Monique Gaffney (Elizabeth) is an award-winning actress who has graced stages in San Diego and New York, locally appearing with Cygnet Theatre, ion Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Compass Theatre and Moxie Theatre. In The Next Room is her second production with San Diego REP, as she was in the company’s production of Doubt in 2009.

Dale Morris (Mr. Daldry) is a veteran of stage and screen. Morris recently appeared in productions with Compass Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, Arthur Wagner Theatre, and Backyard Productions. The San Diego resident’s film and television appearances include American Daughter, Point Blank, ‘Til Death Do Us Part, Fashion House, Silk Stalkings and Angel Street. His play, A Hundred Birds, was named Outstanding New Play in 2007.

Sam Woodhouse directs In The Next Room. This is the third production he has directed during the 35th season. Most recent productions were Superior Donuts and the popular Hairspray, for which he is nominated for a 2010 Craig Noel Award from San Diego Theatre Critics Circle for Outstanding Direction of a Musical.

Previews begin Fri., March 19 in the Lyceum Theatre. Opening Night is Fri., March 26. In The Next Room (or the vibrator play) runs through April 17, 2011. San Diego REP will host Surround Events to enhance the performance experience for guests.  These discussions, performances and interactive events related to the themes of Superior Donuts will be held in the Lyceum Lobby before selected performances. Surround Events are free and open to the public.  A complete list of events is posted at www.sdrep.org.

San Diego REP’s box office is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on non-performance days and 12 noon to curtain on performance days. Ticket prices are $29 to $47. There are discounts for seniors and members of the military. Student tickets are $18. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate. For more information, please see our website at www.sdrep.org.

About San Diego REP
San Diego REPertory Theatre (REP) produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. We promote a more inclusive community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region. San Diego REPertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. To learn more about San Diego REPertory Theatre, visit

About Denise Scatena