by Sarah Ruhl
A Court Theatre production
The play is set in a prosperous spa town outside of New York City at the dawn of the age of electricity and after the Civil War.
A doctor finds that a vibrating device, applied to parts of the body can relieve women of “hysteria.”
The play deals with themes of Victorian ignorance of motherhood, breastfeeding, and jealousy.
The play was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards.
This has lots of laughs, mainly due the the rather intimate nature of what happens in the doctor’s ‘surgery’. The doctor appears as a legitimate scientific proponent. However anyone looking at him from the 20th century would see him as a charlatan and quack.
There are interesting references to Thomas Edison and his electrocution of an elephant.
Jonathan Martin plays Dr Givings, with Amy Straker as his wife Catherine. Hannah Wheeler is the doctor’s patient and Matt Hudson is her husband. Eilish Moran id Annie, the doctor’s assistant. Bianca Seinafo is Elizabeth, a wet nurse and Fergus Inder is Leo Irving, another of Dr Givings patients.