Just Decent

There’s a lot to catch up on, but I’m under the weather and old (26 really takes so much outta you) so this here’s a quick note.

Tonight after work, I went out to dinner with my friend Jennie (Melt Shop, FTW!) and then headed to see Indecent, a play on Broadway. It’s closing in just a few days after being extended, so we wanted to make sure we got to see it before we lost our chance. Mom and Dad saw it, so did my friend Jocelyn, plus another friend, and everyone raved about it — calling it a ‘must-see’ and warning me about the tissues I’d need to pack.

Here’s the gist of the play, which is inspired by a true story:

God of Vengeance is a play written by a Jewish playwright, Asch, about Jewish lesbians (among other things!). It becomes increasingly popular throughout Europe around the time of World War I. It makes its way to the US and is popular downtown, and when it finally reaches Broadway, the cast is arrested on opening night for indeceny (hence the title). The playwright was an immigrant and refuses to testify in court and, it’s presumed, the cast ends up back in Europe. Fast forward a bit to WWII, and they end up in ghettos, where they still perform the play and it lives on. But the thought is that the OG cast died in the Holocaust and Asch, because he didn’t go back to Europe, stayed alive.*

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The good? Awesome that lesbians — and Jewish lesbians, at that — are on a Broadway stage. We’ve gotta diversify and have popular theater depict more of what the world actually looks like! Also good? The cast. Insanely talented. There were only 10 people in total, and three of them were musicians! It was really cool — there was violinist, a clarinetist, and an accordionist — and they were often incorporated into the scenes. The other people took turns playing vague roles, switching in and out seamlessly. Still good? The price. Dude, for $39, I’ll watch Broadway-level entertainment in AC with a friend. Sign me up! Very good? The sour skittles I decided to buy pre-show. #PatOnTheBackForMe

The bad? Why. Would. You. Put. Huge. Lights. At. Eye. Level. When. You. Have. Text. On. The. Back. Of. The. Stage. That’s. Crucial. For. The. Audience. To. See. Why. Why. WHY WHY WHYYYYYY. The real climax at the ending of the show was almost entirely dependent on the audience’s understanding of text that came up on the back wall of the stage. Except I couldn’t read it because of the huge-ass light fixtures they installed. So for the last 15ish minutes I was like, ‘umm, kewl…’ while I’m sure the rest of the theater was taking out their tissues. It ruined the experience! I knew something important was happening, but without the critical context — and no dialogue from any actor to close the loop — I was left out in the dark. When the lights came up, Jennie and I looked at each other sort of dumbstruck. I was actually pretty mad (and surprised that no one at the box forewarned us about the partial view when we got the tix) but Jennie found this thread which made me happy to know at least we’re not the only frustrated ones.

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The not-as-bad-but-not-great? The seating was baaaaasically on Mt. Everest. Legit the balcony was so steep I envisioned myself getting up to use the bathroom mid-show (there was no intermission) and tumbling down the rows and ruining the whole performance. It must be a super old theater, because the seats and arm rests and leg space was all pretty cramped, but I was impressed at the thought of all the hundreds and thousands of people who must have visited and made it through their shows injury-free. Brava!

Final verdict? I left with a bad taste in my mouth! The whole ending was lost on me and that was upsetting. Other than that — and the fact that I’m sick, so I was trying to blow my nose during applause breaks which happens rarely during plays — it was good!

Fun fact? Doors open at 6:30 and when we saw down we realized there were 10 figures sitting on the stage. Jennie and I spent the whole time watching them — “oh! 3 moved!! she’s definitely real!!” or “damn, 8 is killin’ it, I’m not even convinced he’s real!” Turns out it was actually the actors/musicians! Of course it’s impressive to think they’re “acting” for a half hour before they really start the show, but it was neat to think about being in their shows and literally watching as your theater fills up. That’s an experience I’m sure most actors don’t get!

If you’re interested in the New York Times review, check it out, but suffice to say it’s a poignant and timely show with a few actors, a bunch of shitty seats, and a LOT of Yiddish!

*Author’s Note: for sure there are better, more comprehensive, more accurate descriptions of this elsewhere. I’m sure either of your parents could detail this better than I did. After reading the rest of this post, you’ll understand my hesitancy for you to take anything I write as actually true, since I basically missed the crux of what happened in the show.

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