Every woman knows that the girlfriends who PLAY together, stay together, right?
And girls, we’ve got the best playdate idea for you.
The Black Swan State Theatre Company in WA has two plays starting mid-October which celebrate two unsung, very important female icons of the past 150 years: the humble yet revolutionary vibrator, and the woman who vibrantly lit up our TV screens in the ’80s and ’90s: Adriana Xenides.
They may both make unlikely subjects for plays, but both of these shows tap into stories about women that push the boundaries, exploring everything from historic female oppression to modern female empowerment – in the most humorous, refreshing, and entertaining way.
One thing’s for sure: they’re guaranteed to fuel your post-play wine debrief.
In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl
Ah, the vibrator – many of us can’t imagine a time without them. But there was.
This play is a comedy set in the 1880s about the vibrator’s history as an original invention by a man. In stark contrast to its current use as a sex toy, the vibrator was developed to control the archaic concept of ‘female hysteria’ – you know, basically, women having emotions. (Many of us will recall ‘female hysteria’ and its original treatment was also the subject of the 2011 movie, Hysteria, with Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal.)
Today we still use vibrators as a ‘psychotherapy tool’ – albeit in a much more empowering way, in our quest for our God-given right to the female orgasm.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl reimagines how the vibrator was originally used to treat women via Dr Givings, who marvels at the invention and what it can do for his patients: producing ‘euphoria’ by massaging them with it.
What a strange and unique concept, Givings thinks.
It’s going swimmingly, with the doctor’s popularity increasing by word-of-mouth…until Givings’ wife finds out about what he’s up to in “the room”.
In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play looks at so much more than the sex toy; it’s about the evolution of the female psyche, modern medicine, and men.
Nominated for three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, this is hilarious, informative and, ahem, stimulating play is guaranteed to…hit the spot.
And make you think long after your ‘hysteria’ wears off.
Xenides by Clare Watson and collaborators
Most women in their 30s and 40s know about television host Adriana Xenides, who made spinning the wheel on the Wheel of Fortune impossibly glam five days a week. In her time as host, she wore an astounding 4000 dresses, turned 200,000 vowels, traversed 500km in killer heels and always beamed that million-dollar smile.