A Mental Paroxysm

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Living in a city like DC means, among other things, that if you wait long enough eventually all the worthwhile restaurants, celebrities, and theatre productions will trickle down from That City up north. So, yesterday afternoon I arrived early to stand with a crowd of strangers for a chance to snag Pay What You Can tickets to Sarah Ruhl's play, In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.

After settling into the second row, house lights lowered, I was immersed in a two and a half hour production that left me both exhilarated and exhausted. You see, while the actors were being physically stimulated (with a contraption similar to the one pictured, which I snapped in the lobby during intermission), I was awash in the titillating mental activity of separating the playwright's various themes. Societal expectations of women/men. Science and sexuality. Relationships. (At one point, frustrated by her inability to breast feed her own child, the main female character utters the line: I suppose that makes me an inadequate woman! Which of course sent me into a reverie of what it means to. be. adequate.)

The production elicited layers of laughter. Uncomfortable laughter. Honest laughter. Laughter that then turned to tears. The final scene was a blur of snow and skin, where the two main characters finally begin to break down the metaphorical wall(s) that had keep them relegated to separate rooms.

My only regret? Not having someone to dissect the play with as I made my way home.

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