In the 1880s, in a town outside of New York City, Sabrina Daldry is suffering from hysteria. She is willing to try a new form of therapy, electrical massage. Upon entering the office of Dr. Givings, she is very quiet and restrained. She is sensitive to light and to cold. She is asked to remove her clothes for the treatment and she requests that the doctor leave the room since she is very modest. The doctor returns and explains that using this electric device, they will induce a “hysterical paroxysm” which will release fluids from her womb that are causing her symptoms.
This scene is absolutely hilarious. The facial expressions by Melissa Canciller playing Sabrina are perfect. She goes from shyness, to shock, to interest, to ecstasy. This is in sharp contrast to Anish Jethmalani as Dr. Givings, who keeps a straight neutral face of a professional. Equally funny is the all business demeanor of his assistant, Annie, played by Dan Tretta.
Adding to the hilarity of the scene is the set design and costumes. Together they perfectly recreate the 1880s. While wearing these large, fluffy, and old fashioned dresses, the actions of the scene are twice as funny.
In the second act, Edgar Miguel Sanchez as Leo Irving seeks treatment. The entire audience gasps as Dr Givings pulls out the device he plans to use. This gave the impression that the second half would be just as funny as the first. However, after this scene, the play becomes much more dramatic as the relationships between the characters is explored. The transition is a bit awkward and the scenes drag out just a bit.
Overall, this production is extremely well done and a very funny way to explore this part of history. Get tickets now for In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play through December 16th!