Good buzz for release of Hysteria
and pleasure, repression and release. Hysteria, the Victorian-era romantic comedy, is awash in conflict. Set in 1880s London, it’s the tale – inspired by historical fact – of the invention of the vibrator. Hugh Dancy, plays a doctor who joins a practice specialising in curing women of anxieties and afflictions by tending to their ‘‘gentle areas’’, wasn’t sure what he was getting into. ‘‘There were moments when we would stop and look at each other and silently telegraph the thought ‘What the hell are we doing?’’’ says the actor, referring to the scenes in which he and Jonathan Pryce, his mentor, bring patients suffering from ‘‘female hysteria’’ to orgasm. ‘‘Then again, I think in a way that’s what drew me to the project: In a slightly masochistic fashion, it’s the idea of the number of ways that it could have gone so radically wrong.’’ Directed by Tanya Wexler, from a screenplay by Stephen and Jonah Lisa Dyer, Hysteria also stars Rupert Everett (an eccentric inventor), Felicity Jones (the beautiful daughter of the doctor played by Pryce) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (pictured with Dancy, a firecracker feminist who runs afoul of the moral and social arbiters).
opens on July 12, with previews this weekend.