Sunday, October 2, 2022

"Indecent "★ ★ ★

In 1906, the Polish/Jewish writer Sholem Asch auditioned his newly completed drama "The God of Vengeance" to the leaders of the Jewish community in Warsaw. In a preview of what would happen seventeen years later, and for the same reasons, Jewish leaders hated Asch's play. Still, this was the beginning of one of the most influential works in the history of Yiddish theater. "God of Vengeance" was translated into fifteen different languages, including English, and played throughout Europe to enthusiastic audiences.

However, when the play had its opening on Broadway in 1923, it was ruled obscene by New York City police, in cohoots with the American Jewish establishment who found Asch's depiction of a Jewish brothel owner and two Jewish lesbians falling in love to be more than they could take. 

The show closed as soon as it opened. but Paula Vogel's "Indecent," which played on Broadway in 2017, has taken it from there. Her interpretation of both Asch's world and, above all, the forbidden relationship between the two women, gives the audience a lot to think about.

Rivka Borek and Malka Wallick are excellent as the lovers who discover each other in such a difficult situation. Lemml, the Stage Manager, who spans the age of the entire show is played with compassion by Dean Linnard. There are fine performances and excellent moments throughout the show.

We wish the story of the writer were not buried. We see him acting irrationally, but why? The story pivots to be about Rivka and Malka to the exclusion of much that has come before. The live Klezmer musicians give the show a Jewish sentiment, but they can only do so much. 


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division grants Three Stars to Paula Vogel's "Indecent." We loved the stunning beginning as well as the touching ending. This show is certain to garner enthusiastic reviews. The actors play many roles. We admit to getting a bit confused. 



San Francisco Playhouse

450 Sutter Street, San Francisco

2d Floor of Kensington Park Hotel

Through Nov, 5, 2022

$15 - $100

No comments: