During the weekend of Sept. 28-30, the Salem College Pierette Players debuted their annual Fall Play. This year’s selection was “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)” by Sarah Ruhl, a dramatic comedy based around the invention of the vibrator and the treatment of ‘hysteria’. The play was hosted in the Drama Workshop in the Robert E. Elberson Fine Arts Center. In the Next Room is the first Pierettes production with their new director, Amy da Luz.
The set design and costuming was impeccably done, taking the audience straight into Victorian England and immersing them into the story. While the set itself only allowed for two locations, it was well designed and each character was distinct in their style while contributing to a cohesive aesthetic for the production. The prelude and intermission music was simple and effective, using only piano for increased historical accuracy, while choosing more modern selections for an upbeat atmosphere. The casting for the play was interesting and refreshing, adding to the charm of the production.
Although the play unflinchingly deals with rather mature subject matter, the “procedure” scenes were done tastefully and inoffensively. There was a sense of comfort and refreshing vulnerability in the audience, who were eager to learn the fates of the characters. The cast was phenomenal, and each part felt authentic and complex. No character could be considered one-dimensional or boring. Each cast member, despite a few slip ups, convincingly played their parts and invested the audience into the plot. Particularly well done were the performances of first year Cailey Neuschaefer as Dr. Givings, and senior Jessica Palmer as Mrs. Daldry.
Overall, “In the Next Room” was a charming and enchanting production that clearly reflected many hours of love and hard work invested. Salem students shall be awaiting the Pierette Players’ Spring Musical with bated breath!