Inside D.C. entertainment

This is probably the sexiest 'Vibrator Play' story yet

September 2, 2010 - 10:30 AM
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Photo by Stan Barouh

Kathy Holt has seen and enjoyed Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, but she has one gripe: The equipment. A massage therapist, energist and “Goddess-in-Training,” Holt is a Passion Parties consultant, which makes her an expert in vibrators. So if Dr. Givings, the Victorian-era practitioner who treats his patients for “hysteria” in the play, were to have access to some of the items in her bag of tricks, she thinks his patients would leave a lot more satisfied than with his frightening apparatus.

“When I went to the lobby and saw [Woolly’s display of] these antique vibrators, some were made by companies like Hamilton Beach,” says Holt. “I thought, ‘My God these are companies that make blenders.’ ... That was the early stages. Things have been refined over time, thank God.”

Those won’t be the only vibrators on display in the Woolly Mammoth lobby tonight. Holt’s bringing her wares to a pre- and post-show ladies’ night happy hour, where women can compare 100 years worth of vibrators, and maybe order one to take home (orders can be placed privately and confidentially). This is the first time she’s ever done a Passion Party (sort of like a Tupperware party, but with sex toys) for a theater, or for a crowd this big. Usually, they’re a little more intimate - for small groups of women in someone’s home, with drinks, hors d’oeuvres and demonstrations.

“We start at the foreplay stage, if you were about to go into a lovemaking session – the lotions, the perfumes, the things we use to enhance and prepare ourselves,” says Holt, who adds that lubricant is a top seller. Then she moves on to “The smaller products like the Bullet, to things you would use on your g-spot, to vibrators, and then products used for couples. It’s not about using them to substitute – they’re used in the relationship by both partners.”

That’s a concept that would have been quite foreign to the Vibrator Play’s characters. Still, their burgeoning idea of female sexuality pleased Holt, who is a member of Woolly Mammoth’s claque, a group of community supporters who work to promote each show.

“[The Vibrator Play] looks at how, when a woman is balanced in regard to sexual health, the creativity begins to flow,” says Holt. “It’s interesting – it looks at things I talk about in my parties. I try to teach women how important it is to have healthy sexual relations – not just to try to have an orgasm, but a healthy sexual life.”

But back to Dr. Givings. If he had access to today’s high-tech vibrators, which products does Holt think would best remedy his patients’ Victorian-era hysteria?

“First, I would recommend a lubricant,” says Holt. “We have a product called Pure Satisfaction, an enhancement gel, that is unisex. It’s our number one product, and doctors have given it rave reviews. I would have the woman apply it herself.”

And for the treatment?

“We have a product that’s very new called the We-Vibe. It’s a clitoral and g-spot vibrator. It’s wireless, soft, conforms to woman’s body, and you can use it while you are making love with partner,” says Holt. She’s also a fan of a product called the Loving Spoon, in combination with a g-spot cream.

Though the ladies' night takes place both before and after the performance, Holt expects to get more business after the audience has watched the actresses moaning through an entire show’s worth of treatment. Seeing the show makes people feel a little less inhibited, something she witnessed with the theater’s Secret Desires project, a Post-Secret-like place where people can anonymously reveal their inner longings.

“Some people put their [Secret Desires] up on the wall, and after the play they were more intimate,” says Holt. “A little more heat was generated. I think post-show sales will go well.”

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