“Indecent” at the KC Rep

The Rep recently cancelled multiple performances of INDECENT, citing “unforeseen and unavoidable medical emergencies.” To view an updated performance schedule or to check ticket availability, go to www.kcrep.org.

The driving force in “Indecent” is not it’s lead actor (there isn’t really one) — nor is it any individual member of the company.

At centerstage in “Indecent” is an entirely different play called “God of Vengeance” and the enthralling controversy surrounding it that serves as the basis for the story.

The play opens in 1906 when Sholem Asch (Max Wolkowitz) finishes his first play to the high appraisal of his wife (Emily Shackelford). Despite garnering a much different reaction from his initial audience, who are appalled by the obscenity of the script, with the support and assurance of his wife and Lemml, the stage manager (Ben Cherry), the play sees a number of performances throughout Europe and ends up eventually becoming a hit.

However, when the play reaches Broadway and is sanitized for American audiences, things begin to fall apart both for the people who have poured their heart and soul into a story they so strongly believed in and cared for, and for the future of the play itself.

I was so captivated by the story of the play-within-the-play that I almost didn’t fully appreciate just how well done the technical aspects of the production were. The set barely changes throughout the play’s 90 minute runtime, but it’s the subtle alterations each time it does that add so much.

As I mentioned before, there is not one performance that outshines any other in “Indecent.” Rather, all of the actors give brilliant performances in their own right, as well as work well together in realizing what is truly at stake: the fate of the story that “God of Vengeance” is telling; the fate of art.

“Indecent” is much more than a play about a play. It is a testament to the importance of art and its ability to move people; to the importance of telling stories that are too often buried beneath others.

“Indecent” is now showing at Spencer Theatre until Feb. 10th. 

(Photo by Cory Weaver)

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