About: Oh My!

Oh My! is a new indie rock musical comedy about the invention of the vibrator.  The play takes place in an American town during the late 1800s.  A time when vibrators were more popular than toast.

Oh My! had its first public reading at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in NY City in the fall of 2008.  Oh My! was developed, in part, through IRT Theater’s Artist in Residence Program in October 2009. For more information about IRT and it’s development programs visit: www.irttheater.org.

Oh My! was inspired by Rachel Maine’s book “The Technology of Orgasm: ‘Hysteria,’ the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction” and by the documentary “Passion and Power: The Technology of the Orgasm,” as well as by the example of Joanne Webb — a woman who was arrested in Texas in 2003 for giving “passion parties” using vibrators.

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Oh My! is a new musical comedy, with projections and puppets, about women and doctors in America in the late 1800s. This was a time when women wore corsets but were publishing books and riding bicycles with bloomers (“The Bicycle Song”). And they and were being treated for the medical diagnosis of “hysteria” with the latest medical device — the vibrator.

Oh My! follows the stories of four women (Victoria, Priscilla, Gertrude and Mabel) with different symptoms of “hysteria,” a doctor (Dr. Michaels) who treats these symptoms with “womb massage” to induce an “hysterical paroxysm” (the camouflaged medical term for orgasm), and four blithering, bumbling politician puppets who take the fate of the vibrator into their own hands with songs like “Hysteria” and “Stop the Bike.” When Dr. Michaels finds the treatments too time-consuming and he is unable to fit all his patients into his tight schedule, he sings “The Job Nobody Wants.” But when Dr. Michaels notices the buzz from a short-circuited electric toaster, he has a vision of a vibrating machine and the medical device known as the vibrator is born.

Upon its appearance in a silent smut film, a struggle over the vibrator’s legality unfolds causing the four women to consider political protest and confront their relationships and their place in society, as well as their sexuality (“She Shows Me Things I’ve Never Seen”). The play reaches a climax when Victoria realizes she has fallen in love with Dr. Michaels who wishes he could reveal to his patients the true nature of his treatments and the truth about the “hysterical paroxysm.”

Oh My! had its first public reading at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in NY City in the fall of 2008. It is inspired by Rachel Maine’s book “The Technology of Orgasm: ‘Hysteria,’ the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction” and by the documentary “Passion and Power: The Technology of the Orgasm,” as well as by the example of Joanne Webb — a woman who was arrested in Texas in 2003 for giving “passion parties” using vibrators.

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Published on February 4, 2009 at 4:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

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