DTC's Tempest Offers Magical Misery Tour

Kitchen Dog's Vibrator Play fails to satisfy.

Only Prospero, who gives up his conjuring power at the end of the play, understands that. After making peace with his brother, releasing Ariel and Caliban from servitude and marrying Miranda to Ferdinand, Prospero breaks his magic wand over his knee, then steps out of the scene to speak directly to the audience. He'll only be released from his own unhappiness if and when the audience applauds. For this visually stunning DTC production of The Tempest, he need not worry about that.

Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play is still rabbiting on at Kitchen Dog Theater. It's a fact-based drama about a time in the late 19th century when women's "hysteria" was treated as sexual dysfunction. Doctors thought they could release "pent-up emotion in the womb" by stimulating lady parts with quaint contraptions that made G-spots hum the happy song.

It's a skin-deep play being given a deep-tissue massage by director Jonathan Taylor and a good cast led by Martha Harms as a young mother suffering post-partum depression, and Max Hartman as her husband, a doctor using dubious treatments on male and female patients.

Abbey Siegworth and Chamblee Ferguson as Miranda and Prospero conjure some nice moments in Dallas Theater Center's The Tempest.
Karen Almond
Abbey Siegworth and Chamblee Ferguson as Miranda and Prospero conjure some nice moments in Dallas Theater Center's The Tempest.


The Tempest continues through October 9 at the Wyly Theatre. Call 214-880-0202 or visit dallastheatercenter.org. In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play continues through October 8 at Kitchen Dog Theater. Call 214-953-1055.

Trussed up in corsets and bustles (the atrociously ugly costumes are by Bruce R. Coleman), what woman wouldn't be "pent up"? Freed from constricting clothes and zapped with stimulating zip-a-dee-do-dah, the play's women experience post-orgasmic awakenings of body and spirit. But Ruhl has written two hours of foreplay that lead to one moment of sexy rapprochement between the stuffy doc and his wife as he realizes her emotions can be accessed upstairs as well as down. Like so often with the real thing, however, it takes a little too long to reach this satisfying climax.

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Missin' Intermission
Missin' Intermission

A 95 minute Tempest, huh? What's next the Twitter version? God how I miss adult theater where we get to see the whole play. Elaine, I very much believe you have such a bad taste in your mouth for The Shakes because most Dallas Shakespeare is just terrible. I just saw this last year with Christopher Plummer as Prospero, and I assure you it was not the bitter pill you make it out to be. It was 2 1/2 hours of magic. (pun intended). You can keep the DTC and their short attention span theater. I'm going to go where they have the confidence in me and in themselves to sing the last verse of "Eyesight To The Blind".