Campus News

‘In the Next Room’ sets the University Theatre abuzz

University Theatre - In the Next Room - Hernandez and Pulaski-h.action
UGA students Natalia Hernandez


University Theatre will present In The Next Room, Sarah Ruhl’s Tony-nominated comedy about marriage, intimacy and electricity in the Cellar Theatre of the Fine Arts Building Sept. 20-21 and 23-28 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 30. Tickets are $16, $12 for students.

Set in the 1880s, when electricity was first making its way into the home, In the Next Room explores the medical practice of treating hysteria among women by inducing “paroxysms,” known today as orgasms. The play revolves around Dr. Givings’ care of his frustrated patients in his home-based clinic, and the impact of that treatment on his own passionless marriage.

“Things that seem impossibly strange in the following play are all true,” said Ruhl. “Things that seem commonplace are all my own invention.” 

“At the dawn of electricity, doctors really did use vibrators in medical settings to induce orgasms in women suffering from hysteria,” said Kristin Kundert-Gibbs, the play’s director and an associate professor in the department of theatre and film studies. “As for its effectiveness, well, if you were suffering from anxiety or depression and you had twice daily orgasms, would you feel better?”

After its premiere in February 2009, the play made its Broadway debut at the Lincoln Center later that year. Three Tony Award nominations followed in 2010.

The play chronicles, with humor and compassion, a revolution in Victorian attitudes about sex and marriage. As Dr. Givings declares in the play, “What men do not perceive because their intellect prevents them from seeing would fill a book.”

The UGA casts includes Mark Fowler, an MFA performance student as Dr. Givings; Paige Pulaski, a senior theatre major, as Mrs. Givings; Jarrad Holbrook, a senior theatre major, as Mr. Daldry; Natalia Hernandez, an MFA performance graduate student, as Mrs. Daldry; Sellers Webb, a senior theatre major, as Annie; Jasmine Thomas, sophomore theatre major, as Elizabeth; and Malcolm Campbell-Taylor, a senior theatre major, as Leo Irving.

Tickets can be purchased at, by phone at 706-542-4400, in-person at the Performing Arts Center box office or at the door before the show. This play contains mature content and nudity. It is not suitable for children.