Paula Vogel, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright has brought her latest installment, Indecent, to life. Inspired by the true story of the controversial 1923 production of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance. Vogel and director Rebecca Taichman have set the play at a time when a large number of immigrants were pouring into the United States.
In this respect, then, this play becomes potent in the current socio-political climate. It stands by LGBTQA rights in an internal and external context where their equality is being questioned; it is an elegy to the immigrant community and its contributions to America; it is a love-letter to honest, unadulterated art. Indecent has been on a long-run at the Cort Theatre for two months now, and more Indecent tickets are being made available as you read this. So head on out and purchase some now.
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Why so Indecent?
To be honest? Nothing. The play’s indecency lies not in the content within it, but the story it represents. Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance was written in 1906 and staged in 1923. It featured, amongst a compelling storyline and characterization, a Yiddish setting and Lesbian kiss which resulted in the cast and crew being arrested and put in prison after the performance. As a result, “Indecent” is a satirical title and the play, a recounting of the production of this historically controversial play.
What is Indecent?
The play does not simply perform the story of God of Vengeance as a musical. Instead, it focuses more on the making of this classic play. Therefore, the musical recounts the journey of this play from its origins in Warsaw 1906, to when it was banned from New York Theaters in 1926.
Perhaps the most iconic moment in Indecent is its lesbian kiss which is a nod to the first lesbian kiss ever on the American stage, featured in God of Vengeance. It is a powerful and gripping sight full of socio-political nuances, becoming a fierce tribute to the struggle for Gay Rights in America.
The musical is also a resilient effort against anti-Semitism and is performed by a Yiddish cast, in Yiddish with English supertitles for non-Yiddish audiences. Yiddish theater tends to be a niche, largely catering to Jewish audiences. However, God of Vengeance as well as Indecent both have proven to be exceptions. Sholem Asch argued in the 1920’s that “Yiddish theater needs to be universal” and Vogel in 2017 is emphasizing the same importance.
Therefore, the narrative of this musical is non-linear, with modern nuances finding their way in this story essentially about a 1923 theater production that caught New York by storm.
Director Rebecca Taichmann has this to say about Indecent;
“I just felt that it was a really important memory to caretake, this extraordinary glimpse into a moment in New York and in American and Jewish history. What happened was so singular and important, and instructive and useful for us now.” -Variety, 2017
Perhaps the most glaring social reality this musical highlights is how things have not changed much. While it is true that anti-Semitism, sexism, persecution of diverse sexualities and immigrants are unlawful now, they still take place. It challenges the tone deafness of a modern, polarized America which refuses to acknowledge the physical and emotional turmoil marginalized communities are constantly under today.
Indecent, along with being a particularized account, then, becomes a generalized commentary on modern society. It is potent, sharp and subtle, which leaves an audience acknowledging this turmoil without it ever being spelled out for.
Indecent and Yiddish Theater
Jewish theater has always been a niche, primarily aimed at a Jewish audience or those who can understand Yiddish. In keeping with the aims of God of Vengeance, however, Indecent breaks this trend by universalizing an otherwise specific story. There are elements in the story that have the potential to resonate with marginalized communities unanimously, and these are not wasted by Paula Vogel.
Very Few Chances left!
The Cort Theatre on Broadway has been home to Indecent for over two months now. With a capacity of seating 1032 people in one go, the musical is performed every evening with matinees on weekends. The play’s final performance on Broadway is just around the corner. Therefore, there are very few chances left to watch this ground-breaking musical with its existing cast on Broadway. Indecent tickets are available now, make sure you are too.
Indecent Ticket Prices
Currently the average price for Indecent tickets is $141. The date and location for this event is 6-Oct-19 at Space Theater, Denver. The minimum get-in price for Indecent tickets is $141.
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