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Theatre / The Waiting Room

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The Waiting Room is a short comedy by Lisa Loomer that premiered in 1994. It is the story of three women from different time periods who all inexplicably end up in the same modern-day waiting room - Forgiveness From Heaven, a woman from ancient China, seeks to have a toe reattached after it fell off due to a foot binding; Victoria, from Victorian England, wants a hysterectomy, as her ovaries and uterus are being squashed by her corset; and Wanda, from modern-day New York, is troubled by her breast implants. Meanwhile, their doctor is facing his own problems, as he grapples with disillusionment over the state of modern medicine and the knowledge that he has cancer.


This play contains examples of:

  • Camp Gay: Nurse Bruce is quite flamboyantly gay.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Larry arranges for a phony health scare to shut down Dr. Carson's clinic and prevent his serum from being brought to the United States, because his company is marketing their own cancer treatment, and the serum appears to be far superior.
  • Cure for Cancer: Dr. Carson's serum is rumored to cure cancer without all the side effects of chemotherapy. Naturally, Larry prevents it from reaching the United States, because it might threaten the profits from his company's own massively flawed cancer treatment.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Victoria and Forgiveness' ultimate fates (Victoria returns to her miserable home life, while Forgiveness ultimately dies of an infection brought on by the foot binding) are meant to be unfair, the better to illustrate the problems with the respective time periods from which they come.
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  • Fashion Hurts: A major theme of the play is how societies often set up standards of beauty that require pain and health risks to attain.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Both Forgiveness and Victoria have inexplicably ended up in the modern day. They don't seem particularly phased by this.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Played with. Victoria goes to the doctor because she wants her ovaries and uterus removed, because they're getting in the way of her corset and ostensibly causing her hysteria. Her real problem, however, is her husband, who expects her to both care for their children and adhere to a strict standard of beauty while doing so.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Nurse Bruce is a gay black man.
  • Too Much Information: Forgiveness is only too happy to explain, in detail, the process of foot binding, much to Victoria's horror. She also cheerfully boasts about how the constant tension created by her tiny steps has made her vagina like a clenched fist.

Example of: