Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for December 2009
BY Brandon Voss
December 16 2009 9:10 AM ET
Lesbians literally rule in Ann Marie Healy’s sci-fi-flavored What Once We Felt, which ended its world premiere (presented by LCT3, the new developmental initiative of Lincoln Center Theater) at the Duke on 42nd Street on November 22. The story centers on a writer who hopes to have her novel — a work of “biting satire and dystopian leanings” — published as the last printed book in the world. Men are extinct in this bleak future and women have been divided into two classes based on engineered gene perfection (unhealthy Tradepacks and privileged Keepers). In one subplot, a lesbian couple — though possibly lesbian only by default? — encounters a devastating glitch when “downloading a baby” by ordering a pregnancy pill online. Unsettling yet ultimately unsatisfying, this puzzling little play did make me think twice about buying that Kindle.
Audiences are buzzing about stage fave Michael Cerveris’s nude scene and the buzz-worthy machine in Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play). But the Lincoln Center production, which buzzes on Broadway through January 10 at the Lyceum Theatre, also boasts hot same-sex action. Set in the 1880s, when electricity was first becoming available, this terrific play takes its title from the room where Cerveris’s Dr. Givings treats “hysteria” in women by applying an electrified wand to their lady business. Escorted by her husband (played by The Temperamentals star Thomas Jay Ryan), one patient finds herself attracted to the unmarried assistant who helps with her treatments — sometimes manually. These clinically viewed big O's bring big laughs, particularly when Givings massages the prostate of a handsome artist played by Chandler Williams.