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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Defy convention

by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Aaron Posner

Featuring Company Members Jessica Frances Dukes, Kimberly Gilbert, and Sarah Marshall with Katie deBuys, Eric Hissom, James Konicek, and Cody Nickell.

August 23 –
September 19, 2010


Appropriate for ages 16 and up.
Running Time: approximately 2 hours 30 minutes (with one 15 minute intermission)
There is brief nudity in this production.


OverviewWho's whoSchedule and PricesAdditional Info

About the Show


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At the dawn of the electrical age, a new medical device is developed to pacify “hysterical” women, but it produces a shockingly different result. Pulitzer Prize-finalist Sarah Ruhl, creator of Dead Man’s Cell Phone and The Clean House, returns with a richly textured comedy about marriage, motherhood, and the charged energy between our bodies.

What people are saying about
In the Next Room or the vibrator play:

“A sex comedy with a head on its shoulders
and a heart on its sleeve.”
Washington City Paper

“Handsomely designed, attractively upholstered…and a cast whose pitch is well-nigh perfect.”
Washington City Paper

“Wildly, lewdly funny, a farcical costume drama with bustles and corsets and slamming doors, rife with double entendres and sexual innuendo.”
DC Theatre Scene

“The play’s timeless insights leave audiences abuzz with conversation.”
Brightest Young Things

“Playwright Sarah Ruhl dances on the edge of fairy tale, weaving the mythology of feminine awakening with just enough sweetness to win over any prudish audience member.”

“Amid the bawdy jokes and the double entendres is a brilliant, funny, tragic play … buoyed by a fearless, spirited cast.”

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Who's Who



SARAH RUHL (Playwright) plays include In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play (Glickman Prize), 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).  Her plays have premiered at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway, produced by Lincoln Center Theater; off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights’ Horizons, and Second Stage; and regionally at Berkeley Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Cornerstone Theater, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Piven Theater Workshop in Chicago, as well being produced at many other theaters across the country. Her plays have also been performed in England, Poland, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia, and have been translated into Spanish, Polish, Russian, Korean and Arabic.  Sarah received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel, and is originally from Chicago. In 2003, she was the recipient of a Helen Merrill award and a Whiting Writers' award, a PEN/Laura Pels award, and in 2006 was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Her work is published by TCG and Sam French, and she is a member of New Dramatists and 13P. She lives in New York City with her family. 



AARON POSNER (Director) is a director, playwright, teacher, and consultant. His recent local work includes Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Arcadia, the Helen Hayes Award-winning Measure for Measure,and Macbeth at the Folger Theatre. Posner’s co-direction of Macbeth with Penn & Teller at the Folger was hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “among the best Shakespeare productions in America.” Posner has directed at major regional theatres across the country including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Alliance Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, and Round House Theatre. His adaptations of literature—which include The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey and a musical of A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage by Mark Twain (with music by James Sugg) and many more—have been published by Dramatists Play Service, and been produced by more than 30 theatres from coast to coast, as well as in Canada, Israel, Brazil, and South Africa. He is the founder and former artistic director of the Arden Theatre Company and the former artistic director of Two River Theater Company. He has won Barrymore Awards and Helen Hayes Awards for directing and playwriting, is an Eisenhower Fellow, and is originally from Eugene, Oregon.





KATIE deBUYS (Mrs. Givings) is thrilled to make her Washington, D.C. stage debut with In the Next Room or the vibrator play. deBuys is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a graduate of Northwestern University. In May, she received her M.F.A. in Acting from The University of Texas at Austin. Recent professional credits include Agnes in Bug and Sharla in Killer Joe, both by Tracy Letts and both with Capital T Theater Company in Austin. Katie has appeared at the Texas Shakespeare Festival as Olivia in Twelfth Night and Portia in Julius Caesar. At UT, Katie played Hecuba in a world-premiere adaptation of The Trojan Women, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Aglaya in an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. Words cannot express how elated Katie is to collaborate with the incredible artists here at Woolly Mammoth.



JESSICA FRANCES DUKES (Elizabeth) is so happy to be back on the Woolly Stage. Woolly Credits include: Full Circle, Eclipsed, Fever Dream, Antebellum, and Starving; Regional: Studio Theatre (Passing Strange, Caroline, or Change); Round House Theatre (Permanent Collection); Fords Theater in association with African Continuum Theater (Jitney); Indiana Rep Theater (The Piano Lesson); Geva Theater, NY (The Piano Lesson); Theatre J (In Darfur); The Kennedy Center (Unleashed: The Secret Lives of White House Pets, Izzy Iccarus fell off the world); Tribute Productions in association with African Continuum Theater (Spunk-Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress); Horizon Theater, GA (The Bluest Eye); Theater Alliance (The Bluest Eye, Insurrection: Holding History); Washington Stage Guild (Fanny's First Play); and African Continuum Theater (The Story).  Jessica earned her MFA from The Catholic University of America and teaches Fundamentals of Acting at Montgomery College. Thank you.



KIMBERLY GILBERT (Mrs. Daldry) has been playing at Woolly since 2003 (Cooking with Elvis) and became a Company Member in 2006 (Martha, Josie, and the Chinese Elvis). Other Woolly credits include Clybourne Park, Fever/Dream, Boom, Measure for Pleasure, The K of D, and Big Death Little Death. When she is not under the Woolly roof she can be found being a Taffety Punk. Kimberly received her MFA from Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting in 2001. Much love to her family. Many thanks to Aaron for this show; it is an honor, sir.



ERIC HISSOM (Dr. Givings) is very pleased to be making his debut at Woolly Mammoth. He was last seen in DC as Bernard Nightingale in Arcadia at the Folger, a performance for which he won a Helen Hayes Award. He spent most of last year on the road in the national tour of The 39 Steps. He has an MFA from Florida State University and has performed at many theaters across the country including Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Rep, Arden Theatre Company, Meadowbrook, Syracuse Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Asolo Rep, Orlando Shakespeare Theater (where he was a company member for seven years), and many others.



JAMES KONICEK (Mr. Daldry) Roundhouse Theatre: Around the World in 80 Days. Washington Stage Guild: Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime. Shakespeare Theatre Company: As You Like It, Edward II, Tamburlaine, Cyrano.Olney Theatre Center: King of the Jews, Democracy, The Elephant Man. Studio Theatre: The Internationalist, Autobahn, Terrorism, Ivanov. Kennedy Center: Unleashed, Blues Journey, Alex in Wonderland, Alice. Ford’s Theatre: State of the Union. Folger Theatre: Romeo & Juliet. Arena Stage: Born Yesterday. Catalyst: 1984, The Elephant Man. Potomac Theatre Festival: Somewhere in the Pacific. American Shakespeare Center: The Tempest, Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing, Knight of the Burning Pestle, Tartuffe. Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival: Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night. MFA, University of San Diego Old Globe Theatre Training Program.



SARAH MARSHALL (Annie) has been teaching and performing in Washington, DC for nearly 30 years. She has been a Company Member at Woolly Mammoth for 20 years. Her credits here include The Vampires, The Dead Monkey, Wanted, Spain, In the Blood, The Mineola Twins, The Clean House, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Maria/Stuart, Boom, and most recently, Full Circle.


Ayesha NgaujahCODY NICKELL (Leo Irving) is thrilled to be back at Woolly Mammoth after acting in last season’s Clybourne Park.  WASHINGTON DC: Arcadia (Helen Hayes nomination), Macbeth, School For Scandal (Folger Theater), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theater).  NYC:  The Cherry Lane, The New York Fringe, The Mac Wellman Festival, The Kraine Theater, and numerous workshops at The Lark, Lincoln Center Theater, Ars Nova and Epic Theater to name a few.  REGIONAL: Portland Center Stage, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, San Jose Rep, Playmakers Rep, Capital Rep, Two River Theater, Arden Theater, Wilma Theater, Stamford Theater Works (Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Barrington Stage.  TV and FILM: That 70’s Show, Celebrity Death Match, All My Children, Guiding Light, The Conan O’Brien Show and the film Dorian Blues.  Cody is a graduate of The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.  As always, for Kate.



DANIEL CONWAY (Set Design) has worked extensively Off-Broadway and in the regional theatre. Productions of note include: the premieres of Lily Dale, by Horton Foote at The Samuel Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row; The trilogy, New Music by Reynolds Price at The Cleveland Playhouse, directed by David Esbjornson, where he served as resident designer, and the American premiere of Brecht’s Conversations in Exile at The New Theatre of Brooklyn.  At The Arden Theatre in Philadelphia his work has been seen in four productions: Crime and Punishment, Ben Franklin’s Apprentice, Blue Door, and The Pavillion. Recent work includes: MacBeth and Orestes, A Tragic Romp for The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Aaron Posner; MacBeth for Two River Theatre Company; Stunning (premiere) for Woolly Mammoth Theatre, directed by Anne Kaufmann; the national tour of Blues Journey for The Kennedy Center Family Theatre; and Radio Golf for The Studio Theatre where he has designed over two dozen productions. For Signature Mr. Conway designed The Lieutenant of Inishmore and Dirty Blonde, directed by Jeremy Skidmore. Current projects include: Chess and Sunset Boulevard for Signature Theatre; Marcus, or The Sweet for Studio Theatre and Sabrina Fair for Ford’s Theatre. Nominated for the award ten times Mr. Conway is the recipient of the 2000 and 2008 Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Set Design, and is the head of the M.F.A. in Design program at The University of Maryland, College Park.

COLIN K. BILLS (Lighting Design) is an Associate Artist with the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where he has lit over twenty productions, including Gruesome Playground Injuries, Clybourne Park, Full Circle, Eclipsed, Fever Dream, Stunning, The Unmentionables, Dead Man’s Cell Phone and The Clean House.  His designs have been seen at The Berkshire Theater Festival, CENTERSTAGE, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Didactic Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Forum Theatre, Imagination Stage, Intiman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Maryland Stage, Metro Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, The Smithsonian Institution, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre, Synetic Theatre, Theatre for the First Amendment, Theater J, Tsunami Theatre, Vermont’s Northern Stage, the Washington Revels, and The Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Mr. Bills has won two Helen Hayes Awards, for his designs of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Dead Man’s Cell Phone.  He is a 2009 recipient of a Princess Grace Fellowship in Theater, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.  He shares his life with his beautiful wife Rachel.

HELEN HUANG (Costume Design) has designed costumes at Woolly Mammoth for Clybourne Park, Measure for Pleasure, Stunning, The Unmentionables, Current Nobody, Homebody/Kabul, and The Velvet Sky.  Her other design credits include work at The Guthrie Theater, The Children’s Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Disney Creative Entertainment, and Boston Lyric Opera, among others.  Helen has also designed for several DC-area theatres, including Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, and Theatre of the First Amendment.  She is a recipient of a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Costume Design and the Ivey Award (Minneapolis).  She is a professor in the MFA Costume Design Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

JAMES SUGG (Composer) is an actor, sound designer, composer and 10 year member of Pig Iron Theatre Company with whom he has created 10 original works.  He has also worked with  Seattle Rep, Actors Theater of Louisville, Folger Theater, The Wilma, The Arden Theater, Headlong Dance Theater, Rainpan 43 and Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental amongst many others.  His work has been recognized with two Obies (Performance Chekhov Lizardbrain, Special Citation Hell Meets Henry Halfway), four Barrymores for Outstanding Sound Design, and the F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Theater Artist.   He is the composer of the musicals A Murder, A Mystery And A Marriage (an adaptation by Aaron Posner of the short story by Mark Twain), James Joyce is Dead and So Is Paris (Pig Iron Theatre Co.), The Sea (a one man electric chamber opera) and Cherry Bomb (with writer Jen Childs).

TARYN FRIEND (Production Stage Manager) Regional: Ford’s Theatre: Liberty Smith (Spring 2011), Little Shop of Horrors, Road From Appomattox, One Destiny, Living Lincoln Series, A Christmas Carol (2005–08), Meet John Doe, State of the Union, Shenandoah, Leading Ladies. The Kennedy Center: Snow White, Rose Red and Fred (Winter 2010), Barrio Grrrl!, Unleashed!  Signature Theatre: The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick. Education: University of Mary Washington.

KRISTIN LEAHEY (Dramaturg) is the Literary Manager at Woolly Mammoth. Some of her dramaturgical credits include works produced at Kennedy Center, Zach Scott Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theatre, The Goodman Latino Theatre Festival, Teatro Luna, Teatro Vista, Eclipse Theatre, and A Red Orchid Theatre (where she served as the company’s literary manager). She is a Ph.D. candidate in dramaturgy at The University of Texas at Austin, where she is a recipient of a University of Texas Endowed Fellowship. Her publications include articles in Theatre Topics, Theatre History, and Theatre Studies, and she has taught in the theatre department at The University of Texas at Austin and in the Communications Department at DePaul University.



Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm & 8pm, Sunday at 3pm; Saturday, August 28th only at 8pm (no 3pm); Sunday, August 29th at 7pm (no 3pm).

Special performance dates:

  • Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC): Monday, August 23rd, and Tuesday, August 24th at 8pm
    Tickets sold at 6pm each evening, two per person, cash/check only. Lines begin forming around 5pm. Performances typically sell out.


Tickets for In the Next Room or the vibrator play start at $15.

Keyhole Seats are available in the onstage "Operating Theatre." These seats provide a unique vantage point of the show. Operating Theatre Rear seats are semi-obstructed views and are priced at $15. Operating Theatre Front seats start at $45 and vary by day of performance. All bleacher seats are general admission.

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Eric Hissom and Katie deBuys in
In the Next Room or the vibrator play (2010)

Sarah Marshall and Kimberly Gilbert in In the Next Room or the vibrator play (2010)

Photos by Stan Barouh


Woolly Mammoth would like to thank the following patrons for their generous support of
In the Next Room or the vibrator play

J. Chris Babb & James Martin
E&B Family Trust
Hazel C. Moore
David & Peggy Shiffrin
Gerry Widdicombe


Restaurant Sponsor:


Catering Sponsor:



Show Art Concept & Design:
Kate Landis Loewengart & Judy Luke
Illustration © Ronald J. Cala II / i2i art