The Waiting Room


Brandeis Theater Company

Fall 2006

Directed by Janet Morrison

Scenic Design by Stephanie Nimick

Lighting Design by Karen Perlow

Costume Design by Becky Farmer

Music and Sound Design by David Wilson

The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room by Lisa Loomer is a black comedy about corporate health care, medical ethics, sexual politics, and the ideal of woman’s beauty thru the ages and across cultures. Three women from different times and cultures meet in a modern doctor’s waiting room. Wanda, a present day bar-hopping New Jersey-ite worried about her Silicone breast implants; Victoria, a 19th century repressed “hysterical” English housewife, secretly reading Freud and hiding it from her husband; and Forgiveness from Heaven, a 18th century Chinese wife who’s toes are falling off from her bound feet.  The Waiting Room opening music weaves the 3 themes of the women – Wanda, a bluesy, boozy slide guitar, Victoria, an oppressive progression of piano chords with a strained melody trying to escape, and Forgiveness from Heaven, a lilting slow dance played on an Erhu. The Aural image I took in this play was that the strings of the instruments represented the women who’ve been stretched, hammered, plucked, and otherwise abused by all the men in their lives. Most of the piano pieces composed for Victoria, were played in an extreme high register- even above the natural pitch of piano, as if she is wound tight, and her sound is brittle, having little effect on the world around her.

Waiting Room Opening

The themes of the three women establish and mingle, which then segues into the waiting room muzak – “Put on a Happy Face”, which played endlessly under each waiting room scene, as if this room is a hell of false cheeriness put up by the medical establishment.

Victoria’s Theme

Wanda’s Theme

Forgiveness from Heaven’s Theme

The Rape of Victoria

Wanda’s Bad News 

The Diagnosis is Breast Cancer

Gurney Dance 

The women enter the recovery room, their attendants wheel them each in on their gurney, in a slow dance of gurneys, their themes mingle slowly, as if under anesthesia.

Top of Act 2

At the Spa, “New Age” music opens the act and plays under the scene

Ribbon Dance 

Forgiveness from Heaven has died in her bed. As if from a dream, Forgiveness “awakens” from her bed. She rises, pulls ribbons from her bedding and does a traditional ribbon dance. The music arouses her passion, builds into a vital dance with the ribbons rotating and swirling, till the final drum brings a flash of light, and she is gone.

Photos by Mike Lovett

All music © David Wilson 2006-2012 All Rights Reserved

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