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Episode Two -- In Which We Inform the General Public

posted by Stacy Ross on Tue, Jan 27, 2009
in Backstage buzz

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-- did you know that when electrical appliances were introduced into the home (circa 1889)
the vibrator was the 5th such 'appliance' to come along (no pun intended, but there ya go...)
in order of appearance:
sewing machine
fan 
teakettle
toaster
vibrator

 

yes, the vibrator preceded the electric iron and frying pan by at least 10 years....

 

vibrators were used medically, to cure what was referred to as 'hysteria' in women; a condition marked by 'nerves' -- 
'nerves' covering a broad spectrum of symptoms - sensitivity to cold, light, heat...drapes.......
looking at 19th century 'hysteria' (almost exclusively suffered by women -- men seemingly being immune) today,
it looks a great deal like depression/dissatisfaction -- 
and at the time there was a certain amount of heated medical debate about the condition itself...
and therefore the supposed cure -- 
(what seemed to be generally agreed upon
was that a woman's sexual organs were for procreation, not pleasure)

 

in any case, to the general public vibrators were widely known and advertised 
(in sears & roebuck, no less, among others--"all the pleasures of  youth...will throb within you")
as a wonderful home appliance which would provide 'health' and 'relaxation' 

 

well, duh...

 

so yes, vibrators and victorians co-existed

and apparently had a pretty 'healthy' (er..medical) relationship.
in fact it wasn't until the 1920's 
when some adventurous and innovative souls 
began making stag films showing  women pleasuring themselves
with these formerly 'household' appliances,
that the social veil around vibrators fell -- 
they were than regarded as purely sexual  - and thus unseemly and taboo.
they didn't re-surface in 'polite' society until the 1970's
and then exclusively as sexual instruments --
apparently, by the 1970's even those residing beneath rocks
recognized that a human had a sexuality --
evidently the difficult part has actually been convincing people 
that women are indeed human....(rimshot)....

i've been asked to share a bit more about the actual rehearsal process -- 
which seems, at once completely reasonable
and a (possibly) terrible breach of trust -- 
what i can say is that this cast is marvelous -- 
yes, indeed-y, as in 'full of marvels'
wonderful actors and people --
and that we are all anticipating tech
-- where we discover and try to shape the next layer of what we're doing...
we go into the theatre tomorrow
to stumble around for the next few hours before sunday
when we get to dive into costumes and wigs and lights and sound...
(actually we've had 'sound' in rehearsal in a couple different ways -- 
one actor plays the piano  -- yes!! live!piano!
and our sound designer bray has been on the scene,
so we've had a variety of...ermmm...'electrical' sounds to incorporate -- 
and build off of

i know you're not supposed to end a sentence with 'of'...or 'with'

but it has been an eventful week
and yours truly is ready to head off into wonderland, so...

 

stay tuned for episode #3

 

lord only knows what's comin' next...
(not 'comin' like that, i mean...oh get your mind outta the gutter --
you're crowding mine...)

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