*Indecent,* 5/5/17

May 6, 2017

Karen and I saw *Indecent* on Broadway on 5/5/17.  It's a play by Paula Vogel about the play *God of Vengeance* by Sholem Asch.  *Indecent* follows *God of Vengeance* from its first reading in Warsaw in 1907 to productions in St. Petersburg, Moscow, New York, etc.  Won't tell you more, you know you'll never get spoilers from me.  Hashtag spoiler free zone.

 

The play has a few recurring motifs.  Early in the show we saw the end of the play four or five times, but it was staged differently each time, and given a fresh twist by the actors - - it didn't feel repetitive.

 

There are ten performers in the show: four male actors, three female actors, one female violinist, one male clarinetist, and one male accordionist.  The musicians don't ever speak, but they're woven into the show in a wonderful way.  The actors each play many roles (except for one actor, who only plays one role), and the doubling of roles was done in a thoughtful way, so it added depth and meaning to the experience.

 

It might be culturally insensitive of me to use a German word to describe a Yiddish play, but I've gone out on limbs before, and found a happy home there.  Do you know the word Gesamtkunstwerk?  It's a 19th century German word for a total work of art, or synthesis of different art forms.  It (like so many other things) was appropriated by Richard Wagner and has come to be associated with him and his spiel.  *Indecent* was a fantastic example of Gesamtkunstwerk, everything worked together: the story, the music, the movement, the performances, the design.  It all worked together in a deeply meaningful and effortless way, you could tell that the playwright, the director, and the composer all worked together intensely to plan every single moment of the show.

 

I used the word "experience" earlier, and that really is the word for this.  It's more than a play.  It's an experience.

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