Press Releases

Theater & Performance Studies Program presents Pulitzer Prize finalist/Tony-nominated “In the Next Room, or the vibrator play”

Production runs March 30-April 8 in the Davis Performing Arts Center, and includes a Gender Justice Initiative conversation April 6

March 9, 2017 — Washington, DC — A “serious comedy” (The Guardian) that is “insightful, fresh and funny” and “as rich in thought as it is in feeling” (New York Times), “In the Next Room, or the vibrator play” runs at the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre, March 30-April 8, 2017.

Written by celebrated MacArthur Award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, the Pulitzer Prize finalist play “In the Next Room” also received three 2010 Tony Award nominations for its Broadway production, including Best New Play. The Georgetown production, directed by Prof. Derek Goldman, wraps up the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program’s mainstage 2016-17 season: Discover and Celebrate.

In this work set in a seemingly perfect, well-to-do Victorian home, proper gentleman and scientist Dr. Givings has innocently invented an extraordinary new device for treating “hysteria” in women (and occasionally men): the vibrator. Adjacent to the doctor’s laboratory, his young and energetic wife tries to tend to their newborn daughter—and wonders exactly what is going on in the next room.

The New Yorker praises the playwright’s “narrative brilliance,” noting that “In a low-key but daring way, Ruhl has extended the geography of the comedy of manners.”

Director Prof. Derek Goldman, who directed the area premiere of Ruhl’s “Eurydice” at Georgetown in 2007 and at Round House Theater in 2009, says, “Set against the backdrop of the invention of electricity, the award-winning comedy IN THE NEXT ROOM is a particular delight to encounter with advanced student performers,  who connect deeply to its themes of personal awakening and agency — even as it opens up a historical world made up of  Victorian ideas about hysteria, motherhood, marital relations, sexuality, and the relationship between art and science.”

The design team includes Set Designer Andrew Cohen; Costume Designer Prof. Debra Kim Sivigny; Lighting Designer Kristin A Thompson; Sound Designer Sean Craig; Props Designers Gadgetgrlz (Deb Crerie & Kay Rzasa).

Showtimes include the following:

Thursday, March 30 – Saturday, April 1 at 8 p.m. 
Sunday, April 2 at 2 p.m.  
Thursday-Saturday, April 6-8 at 8 p.m.

The play contains adult content.

The Georgetown Gender Justice Initiative will host a cross-campus conversation about the themes of the play on the evening of Thursday, April 6, 2017. The event will feature Nan Hunter from the Law Center, Dr. Andrea Singer from the Medical Center, and director Prof. Derek Goldman; it will be moderated by Prof. Denise Brennan.  

Ticket prices are as follows:

Fri./Sat. evening:  $18 general | $15 faculty, staff, alumni, senior | $10 student 
All other performances: $15 general | $12 faculty, staff, alumni, senior | $7 student

To order, visit or call 202-687-ARTS (2787) Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. Georgetown University’s main campus is located at 3700 O St. NW, in Washington, DC. Additionally, space-available GU student tickets for opening night on Nov. 12 are free (limit one), I.D. required at pickup.


Housed in the Davis Performing Arts Center, the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program features a nationally recognized faculty of leading scholar/artists and professional practitioners who offer a dynamic interdisciplinary major that emphasizes the interaction of artistic and analytic inquiry. The Program has rapidly attracted significant national attention for its distinctive curriculum, which integrates the political and international character of Georgetown, a commitment to social justice, and high-quality, cutting-edge production seasons, including world premieres. In 2012, Backstage selected the Program as one of the top five college theater programs outside of New York City.

The Theater & Performance Studies Program provides unique focus on adapting, devising and developing new work, interdisciplinary research-to-performance projects, cross-cultural performance studies, and innovative approaches to design and multi-media, as well as playwriting, directing, dramaturgy, ensemble, and solo performance. The Program invests in a distinctive array of professional partnerships and collaborations, including with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, with a growing focus on global performance and politics, as represented by international residencies (DAH Teatar, Ping Chong, Timberlake Wertenbaker) and by the establishment of the Laboratory of Global Performance and Politics, a collaborative initiative with the School of Foreign Service. Each year the Program hosts residencies with guest artists who collaborate deeply with students. Our major prepares students for lives as professional theater artists, scholars, activists and entrepreneurs, as well as for careers in the wider fields of education, cultural criticism, and public service.


Derek Goldman is an award-winning stage director, playwright/adapter, developer of new work, educator, and published scholar, whose artistic work has been seen around the country, Off-Broadway, and internationally. His work has been produced and developed at theaters such as Steppenwolf, Lincoln Center, Arena Stage, CenterStage, Folger, Round House, Everyman, Theater J, Mosaic, Synetic, the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theater, McCarter, Segal Center (Montreal), Northern Stage, Forum, Olney Theater Center (where he is an Artistic Associate), and others. He is Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University where he is co-Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, which he founded with Ambassador Cynthia Schneider with the mission of harnessing the power of performance to humanize global politics. From 2007-2016, he served as Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center at Georgetown. He is a Founding Director of Unesco’s UNITWIN Global Network of Higher Education in the Performing Arts (based in Shanghai), and a partner with TCG on the creation of the Global Theatre Initiative.  He is also Founding Artistic Director of the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, an award-winning  professional theatre founded in Chicago and now based in Chapel Hill NC. He is the author of more than 30 professionally produced plays and adaptations, including work published by Samuel French, and he has directed more than 80 productions. Recent highlights include A Streetcar Named Desire at Everyman; Our Class at Theater J (Helen Hayes Nominated for Outstanding Resident Play); Grounded at Everyman and Olney (to be remounted at Northern Stage) and The Brothers Size at Everyman; his world-premiere adaptation of David Grossman’s novel Falling Out of Time (Theater J); his adaptation of Three Men in a Boat (Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding New Work/ Adaptation) at Synetic; the World Premiere of Jay O. Sanders’ Rwanda epic Unexplored Interior, the inaugural production of Mosaic Theater; Theodore Bikel’s Sholom Aleichem: Laughter through Tears, which he developed with Bikel and toured internationally after hit runs Off-Broadway (Drama Desk Nomination) and at Theater J. His original play about Polish War hero Jan Karski, featuring David Strathairn,  was recently presented at the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC. He received his Ph. D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. In 2016 he received the prestigious President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers.


Sarah Ruhl’s plays include Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play (a musical with Todd Almond); Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, Dear Elizabeth, and most recently, The Oldest Boy and For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, with premieres often at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and have been translated into more than 12 languages. 

Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. An alum of 13P and of New Dramatists, she won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She was the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Whiting Writers award, the Feminist Press’ Forty under Forty award, and a Lilly Award. She proudly served on the executive council of the Dramatist’s Guild for three years, and she is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama. Her book of essays on the theater and motherhood, 100 Essays I don’t have time to write, was a Times Notable book of the year. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.