To Do List

Categories:      Theater    Music
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 at 2:00 PM
To Do List by Alex Bieler
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“In the Next Room or the vibrator play”

The people behind Dramashop have already proven that they are not afraid of tackling tough subjects, such as perceived beauty and the consequences of war. The group’s latest show, “In the Next Room or the vibrator play,” is the latest in a line of eye-opening events.

The play, which opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Renaissance Center Theatre, focuses on a doctor who tries to use a vibrator to cure women of “hysteria,” and his wife, who is struggling with her own sexual identity. While “the vibrator play” may seem like a questionable topic at first glance, the show proves its artistic merit.

“It’s not a vulgar show, it’s an intimate show,” says Dramashop Artistic Director Zach Flock. “That’s essential to the message – that idea of intimacy and vulnerability and how we’re uncomfortable with these things, but they’re important.”

Like previous Dramashop performances that provided a message while inducing squirms, “the vibrator play” takes a close look at just how much impact physical intimacy can have on a couple.

“Unlike the entirety of pop culture, this play gives so much value to sex,” Jess Ciccone, Dramashop secretary/treasurer and director of “the vibrator play.”  “It’s so important, it’s so vital, it’s a part of identity, it’s a part of this relationship.”

Still, even today, people have trouble placing a true emotional value on physical intimacy. While the subject of sexuality is much more approachable now than in the Victorian era of the late 1800s of Great Britain that “the vibrator play” is set in, physical passion can still be a very taboo topic.

“I love the contrast between this very prim and proper stylizing of these women who are very pretty in these big, long ball gowns juxtaposed with this ridiculous medical practice of having a vibrator used on them,” Jess says. “It’s as if you could go back in Victorian Era and pick up somebody’s skirt. You just weren’t supposed to see this side of people and it’s completely on display.”

Of course, Dramashop is ready to help present this new side of the story to the public. The cast of Ken Brundage, Allison Kessler, Erika Krenn, Alaina Manchester, and more, will continue to explore controversial topics through contemporary theater.

“Our mission is all about challenging, educating, and engaging,” Zach says. “Is it going to challenge audiences a bit? I think so, because it’s not necessarily inside the typical comfort zone.”

When it comes to contemporary theater, sometimes you have to be willing to shake things up to get your message across.

With the show running from October 25 to 27 and November 1 to 3, the city of Erie has six chances to catch “the vibrator play.” Tickets run at $15 or $10 online. Students with a valid ID can purchase tickets at the door for $5. Seating is limited, so ordering tickets online ahead of time is suggested.

Electric Funeral

As the days fly by in the month of October, everything seems to start changing around you. The days grow shorter, the air gets chillier, and the leaves start exploding in hues of brown, orange, and red… It’s as if nature gets into the Halloween spirit as much as everyone else.

The end of this mischievous month provides ample opportunity to celebrate the haunting holiday, whether it be through scary movies or dressing up like your favorite monster/movie character/recently deceased celebrity. For musicians, however, the holiday is a chance to honor a little band from England.

“Who’s better than Black Sabbath to do on Halloween?” Stephen Trohoske asks. Trohoske is one of several musicians coming together for “Electric Funeral – An All Hallows Eve Tribute to Black Sabbath.” While not actually on the holiday itself (the event starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27), the show still promises a heavy dose of the influential British rockers through the efforts of Trohoske, Doug Phillips, Eric Brewer, Kenny “Stix” Thompson, Steve Maynard, and Trevor Huster.

With Halloween right around the corner, Trohoske says that Black Sabbath should fit right in.

“They always had that dark, kind of gothic, English aspect to them” Trohoske says. “A lot of people coined it as ‘satanic,’ the things that they did, or what they assumed was satanic. I think that guys like Ozzy [Osbourne] had a good time playing with people on that. We talked at one point about going to Wegman’s and getting a bunch of gummy bats and biting the heads off of them at midnight. I just think that Sabbath took on that kind of gothic vein. Halloween carries that same kind of sinister theme.”

Of course, Black Sabbath is a valid candidate on more than just theme alone. The influential rock band, which Trohoske dubbed the “king of the riffs,” has a special place in the hearts of these musicians, and they’re going to rock out appropriately.

On the scale of trick to treat, this show should definitely sit around the latter.

Alex Bieler can be contacted at

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