Saturday October 5, 2013 / 8:00pmIn the Next Room or the vibrator play
How was your experience?
I had a great experience with Goldstar this weekend. They were very accommodating. I had a ticket for Saturday's show but I was in pain and could not make the performance of In the Next Room, the Vibrator Play at Lounge Theatre 2 near Santa Monica & Vine. The Lounge Theatres are located at the corner of Santa Monica and El Centro specifically. With great effort and customer care, Goldstar moved my ticket to the Sunday night show. I must thank Neil and Donielle for making the switch however painstakingly. Heather dropped the ball, however by not informing the Lounge Theatre that I confirmed my attendance for Sunday's show but it was not an issue by the time I arrived. I highly recommend going to see In the Next Room. It's a period piece set in the 1880's. Almost farcical, Sarah Ruhl the playwright creates a crack cast of memorable characters who bring charm and light-hearted comedic frivolity to a story of the vibrator and it's history. I could not fault any of the actors in the show. They all performed above expectations, especially in the second act. Standouts include Tarina Pouncy as Elizabeth, who avoids any cliched throwback to any Ethel Waters interpretation of a black housemaid of the era and instead brings a strength, resilience and intelligence to her role that was very refreshing and even compelling in its emotional narrative. She is the anchor of the show, providing a resting place for the piece and its characters who act somewhat foolishly trying to make sense of their lives. Tarina plays Elizabeth proud, smart and unaffected by the woeful, wealthy elite folks of this New York suburb. She might have been considered a second class citizen but Elizabeth lives in her own home with her husband and will have none of it. Tarina shows a mastery of subtleties and tells a great story with her body language alone. Of course, that's the sign of a great actor who can say so much without dialogue and Pouncy achieves that marvelously. Also providing an anchor of sorts is Michelle Lane as Annie, nurse to Dr. Givings who helps hold the story and characters together with a fine, understated performance and some surprises thrown in that were performed with class and a keen sense of focus. All throughout her performance she wisely underplayed each bit, presenting a very believable character. Andrew Pifko and Kate Morgan Chadwick were nothing less than delightful. Thaddeus Schafer and Laura Perloe Mann put in fine performances, Mann shining wonderfully in Act Two. All the actors accomplished something important in that they played their parts respectful to the era the play was set in and that's a very important aspect of the actors craft and somewhat of a test for them and the director who pulled it off nicely. The set design steals the show, an absolutely breathtaking display of a Doctors patient room side by side with the living room of the Givings house. Theatre 2 is a wonderful place to see a play. The seats are new but not terribly leg-roomy, be fore-warned, but perfect sight lines and comfy seats and the set design made splendid use of the stage and was quite entertaining in itself. The set design and costumes should be up for awards, though I know little about that, so if costumes are your thing, you'll see period dresses all the way down to the corset as the women are undressed frequently in the play. In the Next Room runs next weekend only so get there at all costs! Next Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm. The first Act runs just under an hour and Act Two runs an hour and ten tops, but don't quote me. You'll be enthralled by the middle of Act Two, I promise. The only criticism I could say is for the pacing that could be picked up a bit, especially in Act One. I bought my ticket on Goldstar for $12.50, $16.50 with service fee and that's a steal! For more info, visit: http://www.theatreunion.org Thanks to Theatre Union and Goldstar for an unforgettable experience! the saint