IN THE NEXT ROOM

The theatre at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs has done it again.  I've had the great good fortune of seeing every show there this season, and so far, each production has exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable.  First I saw Leslie Bramm's Lovers Leapt- fantastic, tragic, timely.  Then I saw Stephen Sondheim's Assassins.  Brilliant.  Then came A Year with Frog and Toad- sweet, joyous fun.  And now Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, which was funny, sad, thought provoking- your basic outstanding night at the theatre.  The first three plays I saw at the FAC were all deftly directed by Scott RC Levy, the new Artistic Director of the company who has programmed a season that is just fantastic- exciting, entertaining, and elevating.  In the Next Room is directed by Joye Cook-Levy perfectly, with just the right balance between comedy and drama.  I don't know what they eat in the Levy/Cook-Levy house, but it must be some kind of meta-theatre super food that produces super powered theatre people.  How else can you explain so much talent in one household?



The play itself is a comedic drama, or rather a dramatic comedy, is set somewhere in the Victorian age, and is about a Doctor Givings, who uses the fairly new invention of what we call a vibrator to help women, and some men, overcome "hysteria".  The central character in the play is the doctors wife, Catherine- who goes from scatter-brained housewife to fairly modern woman in the course of the play.  The actors are to a one pitch perfect.  The dialogue is somewhere between the well made plays of Shaw or Wilde and the hard hitting realism of Ibsen- but the cast pulls it off wonderfully, at just the right pace for us to digest what is going on and still keep us leaning into the action.  Stephanie Phil plays Catherine with intelligence, sensitivity, and a keen sense of humor.  Chad Siebert plays Doc Givings just right, making him at once a bit of an insensitive husband and also a lost, sad man who doesn't really know how to connect to his wife.  Max Ferguson plays an artist who suffers from hysteria and has several memorable run ins with a device from Chattanooga that brought the house down.  Marisa Hebert is strong as Elizabeth, a wet nurse who serves as the catalyst for Catherine's journey, and then provides some insight into martial bliss in the second act.  Tracy Liz Miller and Tom Auclair play a couple who come to the doctor for help with their hysteria problems, and bring humanity to these rather silly people.  And Amy Brooks plays Annie, the doctors assistant, so sweetly, so softly and sadly that she was my favorite character in the play.



Next at the FAC:  Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.  I can't wait.

And now, on a complete tangent of self promotion- I am a semi-finalist in a pitch contest that Playscripts, inc. is throwing.   A pitch is a basic idea for a story.  In this contest, called Pitch-n-Play, hundreds of playwrights tweeted their pitches, and 30 were chosen as semi-finalists.  Now, through online voting, 3 finalists will be chosen, and then one winner will be given an advance on their play, whihc will be published by Playscripts, inc.  Please go here and vote for me- my pitch in the one about the real Puck messing with teens during a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Now go out there and GET YOUR THEATRE ON.

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