The Challenges of Selling a Show that has “Vibrator” in the Title

My mother is nervous. She’s not sure she wants to bring her regular theatre date (who is a man) to In the Next Room or the vibrator play. “Maybe I’ll ask Liz,” she says, “See if she wants to go.”

Vibrator! We say it a lot these days. Aaron Posner did a whole podcast on vibrators this week. We toss out puns at staff meetings. My desk is littered with post-it notes with funny vibrator jokes. I circled an image of vibrating underwear that appeared in today’s Express and left it in our kitchen. But my mom still hasn’t decided when she’s coming, or who she’s coming with. And she’s not alone. The box office is getting calls from patrons who wonder, exactly how sexual is it? It seems as if that V word actually might turn some people off. (Pun intended.)

Here at Woolly it seems like for every time we make a joke about the show we are then faced with the challenge of countering that joke, and must remind ourselves that our positioning should be less about the vibrator (ha…_ and more about the intimacy – which is what the show is really about anyway. In fact, the original title of the play was In the Next Room. Sarah didn’t tack on the “or the vibrator play” until later. Personally I am thankful that she didn’t end up calling it In the Next Room or the intimacy play because, geez, the only thing harder to talk about than vibrators is intimacy.

So this was our challenge: for each piece of programming we come up with about vibrators, we must also be mindful of the deeper themes of the show. (Oh! Pun! So sorry…) For example, when you come to Woolly to see vibrator you might come on a night where there will be a cosmo happy hour, and perhaps at that cosmo happy hour is a passion party demonstration. Then, if you come back, maybe you’ll catch one of our salons about how intimacy in relationships is becoming increasingly difficult to attain as our society is being inundated with new technologies that arguably distance you from an other rather than connect you with them. Rachel Grossman, our Connectivity Director has done a lovely job bringing each department in the theatre together to collaborate on the right mixture of programming that would give our audiences a deeper and more explosive engagement with the work. (Oh… pun. Oh, man…)

It is my responsibility to create the editorial arc of the Woolly Blog and Podcasts and I like to think the editorial arc of the posts you’ll read during vibrator reflect the journey we at Woolly have gone through while producing this show, from both the artistic and administrative angles. We start with a charged excitement of first rehearsals, of chatter about vibrators and then we slip into (sorry… pun…) the harder (sorry…) topics to discuss: Intimacy. Love. Relationships.

We don’t – I don’t – have puns for those things. They are not so easy to joke about. And they are not so easy to blog about. I’d almost prefer to ask people to write about their own orgasmic experiences than to ask them to take a very close look at themselves, at their work, at their collaborators in both and work and life, and ask them to really ask themselves, to write about, to be interviewed for a podcast and have to answers the question: Is this working? Was this the right choice? Are we going to be ok?

~Alli Houseworth, Communications and New Media Manager

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1 Comment

Filed under Communications and Connectivity, In the Next Room or the vibrator play

One response to “The Challenges of Selling a Show that has “Vibrator” in the Title

  1. Brian

    “But my mom still hasn’t decided when she’s coming, or who she’s coming with.”

    Tee hee.

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