Video: Alley Rep. Explores the History of Vibrators

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Hysteria—in addition to being the best Def Leppard album—is a word with a storied history. It used to be a medical diagnosis that collected a series of unrelated abstract symptoms—everything from insomnia and shortness of breath to a tendency to cause trouble—and lumped them together with a bizarre theory about the uterus as a malevolent organ that rebelled against women who didn't fill it with children. Feed me, Seymour!

Up until it was deemed the worst form of sexist quackery, hysteria was often treated by "massing the genitals." And since it was pretty easy to sprain your wrist molesting mental patients, doctors turned to technology. Specifically, a new device called a vibrator.

That invention and its usage are the subject of In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, by Sarah Ruhl, which Alley Repertory Theater is staging this month at Visual Arts Collective.

BW stopped by a recent rehearsal with a video camera to watch the cast getting ready and hear a little more about the play from director Buffie Main. Check out a full article on the play in Wednesday's Boise Weekly.

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