Kate Fry on In the Next Room or the vibrator play | Interview

The star of Victory Gardens’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play talks about her role.

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Kate Fry in In the Next Room or the vibrator play at Victory Gardens Theater

Kate Fry in In the Next Room or the vibrator play at Victory Gardens Theater Photograph: Saverio Truglia


Luminous actress Kate Fry plays the wife of a 19th-century ob-gyn, pictured in character, left, this fall in Victory Gardens’ Chicago premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play.

What can you tell us about your character?
She is the wife of a doctor in the 1880s, around the time of [the birth of the electric industry], and she’s just recently become a mother. Her husband specializes in treating people—primarily women, but not exclusively—for symptoms of hysteria. [Chuckles] Yeah.

Have you done a Sarah Ruhl play before?
Never. I’ve admired her for a few years now; I’ve read a couple of her plays, and I think she’s quite wonderful. I know I’m not alone.

How does In the Next Room compare to the other Ruhl plays you’ve read?
I’ve read Passion Play and The Clean House, and loved them both. This seems to be more of a concentrated story line, I guess I’d say. There are a lot of issues, but they’re centered on this particular house and this particular marriage. There’s no switching of time periods or locales; it’s a little more focused. The fantasy element—y’know, if I were a grad student at Sarah Lawrence writing about the fantasy element in the plays of Sarah Ruhl, I’d say in this play they’re all in the interior lives of the characters.—Kris Vire

In the Next Room or the vibrator play •Opens Sept 9.

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