The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Dramashop show not what it seems

Dramashop’s first main-stage show of its second season is far from anticlimactic..

“In the Next Room” takes place during the Victorian era shortly after the discovery of electricity. It tells the story of Dr. Givings, who uses a vibrating machine in his home to cure women of hysteria, unbeknownst to his wife, Catherine, played by Allison Kessler.

The storyline focuses on the treatment of Sabrina Daldry, played by Erika Krenn.  The play shows that there is a lot more to sex than just the physical act; that it’s meaningful and part of a person’s identity.

The show is bound to surprise most of its viewers, especially those who know nothing about it. While the show definitely has moments of giggling, there are also serious themes.

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The cast presents the show with a lot of maturity and comfortableness for the scenarios they have to portray.

Ken Brundage plays Dr. Givings, “a man of science.” His character sees things as very black and white for the longest time. His character slowly evolved, with the help of his wife, as the play went on.

Mrs. Givings is a very lonely character whose loneliness is amplified by the fact that she can’t breastfeed her own baby. She is a very honest character who often “puts her foot in her mouth” when she just says what’s on her mind.

Mrs. Givings is also a very friendly character as she often becomes bored by herself. Kessler did well to make sure the character was friendly, but not too friendly.

As the show goes on, Mrs. Givings grows to discover herself and take charge of her own life. Both Brundage and Kessler’s characters seem to do this near the end of the show. The way they both changed complemented each other well and helped to personify they show’s theme.

Mrs. Daldry, meanwhile, suffered from hysteria. She receives treatment in the form of the vibrator machine.

Krenn’s character exemplifies the theme most as she starts to confuse her feelings when she receives different sensations from the machine than she does from her husband. Because of this, she begins to fall for Annie, the doctor’s assistant.

Krenn did a good job of making Mrs. Daldry’s hysterical symptoms known, but keeping them subtle, which can often be difficult.

Overall, the entire cast did a marvelous job with the production. The same can be said for the technical aspects of the show.

As the audience had to see everything, the stage needed to be lit, but the audience had to be able to distinguish whether or not the lamp onstage was on or off, as cast members had to turn it on and off.

This might have been a hassle to work out before the show, but it was easy to distinguish as the lamp light was on at the beginning of the show and then the audience got to see the difference between on and off.

In terms of sound, the effects sounded real and the cast members were loud enough. The only qualm was that footsteps backstage were audible, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s controllable or if it’s just a negative acoustic that comes with the theater space.

Overall the production was executed very nicely. There are still three more chances to see the show on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Center on the corner of 10th and State streets.

Dramashop is a new nonprofit theater company in Erie that is currently in the midst of its second season.



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