Friday, May 5, 2017

Review - Indecent

I have to admit to you that I've been struggling over this post all day.  When I saw Paula Vogel's Indecent last year, I was just stunned by it, yet I could still articulate why it stunned me.  Even though I didn't want to go into too much detail then, since I saw a preview, I think I still did a pretty good job in expressing myself about the show (remind yourself of the review HERE). For some reason, I was so moved by seeing the show for a second time, especially in that beautiful Broadway house, I'm a little tongue-tied. Speechless, even. I've lived with my love for that experience for a year, and all my expectations of the Broadway transfer were completely exceeded.  When I start to think about the parts of the play that especially moved me, I start to cry again. I've actually been pretty weepy all day.  I think this is what it is to be so profoundly touched by something that your life has shifted in some way. There's 'before' and there's 'after.' Which, I guess in a way, is what Indecent is all about.  Among other things.  So maybe I should just start there.  I guess spoilers are coming, so maybe tread lightly...

photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Indecent is just so gloriously, so lovingly put together.  It appears seamless - the script, the staging, the music, the acting, the designs.  It's all of one captivating piece, that builds in sympathy and warmth throughout into such a transcendent moment of beauty and tragedy and hope, I couldn't speak.  But even in the builds, we see the circles of life and scenes turn back into themselves. We're taken on such a journey - the tailor who so falls in love with a play, his life changes.  He spends his life as that play's champion, sharing his wonderment with audiences around the world.  And when society, and the play's author, abandon him, the pain and betrayal are so enormous, I couldn't help but be devastated along with him; the actresses who rejoice in being able to actually portray their love on stage.  This play is just so full and rich, and it shows the richness of another, nearly forgotten play as well, Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
The acting in Indecent is simply spectacular.  I am terribly disappointed that Richard Topol wasn't nominated for a Tony Award.  His portrayal of the tailor turned stage manager is so filled with meaning - so gentle and wondrous, then so wounded.  Oh, he's just wonderful. But really, everyone is.  Most of the actors play five or six different characters apiece and they're terrific at differentiating between each one.  The onstage musicians are also fantastic, and beautifully play silent characters on the periphery of the action when they're not playing their music.

Just thinking of the gorgeous images makes me long to see the show again right away. The differences in situation when the characters are standing in lines; the tableaux when finishing or beginning a new chapter in the life cycle of God of Vengeance; the subtle projections that let us know time and place, plus they give us a 'stitch in time' pause, where we can all breathe and expand and process what's happening.  And also thinking of how the horrors in this play can easily become horrors again now terrified me.  I don't know.  I really just did have a very visceral response to the piece.  I guess you never know how something is going to affect you.  I did worry, before the show started, that the play wouldn't seem as magical on a second viewing.  I was so wrong.  There were times my heart pounded in anticipation, because I knew what was coming, but I was still astounded at how the pieces fit together so movingly.  There were gasps in the audience when the pieces fell together for them, which was also moving to me.  And the thought that there was once a play that changed people's lives, that comforted people during their most traumatic and horrifying times of life, is life-affirming.  And full-circle, too, I guess.  If not now, in these times of rage and horror, then when else can theater save us?  Maybe I'm going overboard with my love for Indecent, but it's all true.  It's all there.  And even though I've rattled on, I still feel as if I can't really talk about the depths of how it affected me.  But I can't wait to get back there to see if I can find a way to share the feelings.  Please, you go, too. Help me figure it out.

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