Paula Vogel's Play INDECENT Gets Hawai'i Premiere
The ARTS at Marks Garage and the Open Home Performance Network present the Hawaii state premiere of Indecent, the acclaimed 2017 Tony nominee for Best Play. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel and directed by Lurana Donnels O'Malley, Indecent tells the true story of the play which featured the first same-sex kiss on Broadway in 1923, leading to the arrest of its entire Yiddish theatre troupe for obscenity.
Performances will run June 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30pm and June 23 and 30 at 2:00pm at the ARTS at Marks Garage. Tickets are $15-$25 on eventbrite and at the door, with Early Bird discounts available for advance purchase for first weekend performances.
Indecent, a play with music and dance, centers on the story of Jewish writer Sholem Asch, his controversial play The God of Vengeance, and the many actors and theatremakers who were a part of the play's history. Indecent transports audiences across decades of time, through many locations and dozens of characters, weaving a story that is not only about Asch and his play, but one that is also about Jewish history, about culture and survival, and about censorship and oppression from both within and without a community. Director O'Malley believes O?ahu audiences will find many connections with this new work, stating, "Local audiences should recognize a lot in the story of this Yiddish theatre troupe: the connection of language to culture, the need for freedom in artistic expression, the battle for representation and against stereotypes."
Indecent features a multicultural and multi-generational cast of 7 in multiple roles, and 2 onstage musicians. O'Malley says, "This is your chance to catch the Hawaii state premiere of one of Paula Vogel's greatest plays, with an impressive group of local performers, in an intimate setting." O'Malley also emphasizes that this play is "about today," noting the timeliness of the issues and questions it raises. In a political climate when censorship and free speech, when antisemitism, intolerance, and bigotry against LGBTQ+ and immigrants are deeply relevant issues, O'Malley hopes the play, in bringing to light some of the darker moments of world and U.S. history, will serve to remind audiences that "this is a time when we need tolerance and we need to nourish our arts." Additional historical and contextual information about the true story of The God of Vengeance obscenity trial, compiled by dramaturg/assistant director Kat Altman and assistant dramaturg Christie Honoré, can be found at www.openhomeperformance.org
For Music Director Sean T. C. O'Malley, "The most exciting-and challenging-aspect is working with the multiple languages, dialects, and accents the characters sing in. Each song evokes a unique perspective on the story." The O'Malleys are collaborating with choreographer Harmony Tesoro, who brings her background in yoga, dance, and education to her work in island theatres such as Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Pinocchio; Shocka; A Bollywood Robin Hood,) Kumu Kahua Theatre (Demigods Anonymous), and M?noa Valley Theatre (Closer Than Ever). Tesoro: "What excites me most is the idea that theatre has, and always will, put forth vital human stories."
The cast of seven includes many veteran local actors, and one surprise: Adrian Khactu, an experienced performer in musical theatre, is new to the local theatre scene; Adrian plays the key role of Lemml the stage manager. Perhaps the most well known performers of the group are multiple Po?okela award winner Ann Brandman whose work has recently been seen in Noises Off (DHT) and True West (TAG), and Christina Uyeno, a longtime company member at Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Elephant and Piggie, Sparkle, The Ballad of Mu Lan). Annie Lokomaika?i Lipscomb, actor and dancer, has recently performed in Ku A Mo?o (HTY) and Ho?ina (Tau Dance Theatre), and worked with both O'Malleys in Caryl Churchill's Vinegar Tom at UHM. Lipscomb and Uyeno play Manke and Rifkele, the two lovers at the center of the play-within-the-play.
Adam Brading, who plays the role of the playwright Sholem Asch, played Don in June is the First Fall (KKT) this past fall, and has been frequently seen on the Leeward Theatre stage, notably as Richard III. Brandon Caban just finished playing Oscar in Sweat at TAG, where he also played Elliot Ruiz in The Happiest Song Plays Last; Caban has also performed with Hawaiian Mission Houses and PlayBuilders. Tyler Haugen is an MFA student in acting and directing at UHM, where he has performed leads in Nora, A Midsummer Night's Bollywood Dream, and The Country Wife; Haugen will direct his thesis production of Genet's The Maids in the Fall.
The ARTS at Marks Garage co-produces Indecent with the Open Home Performance Network, a new incarnation of an independent arts project established in the early 1990s by Lurana Donnels O'Malley and Sean T.C. O'Malley. In its new incarnation, the Open Home Performance Network aims to produce performance work with current social relevance. Lurana, Professor of Theatre at UH M?noa, recently directed June is the First Fall (KKT) and The Spitfire Grill (UHM). Lurana has collaborated three times with Sean acting as her Music Director (On the Verge, Vinegar Tom, Translations). Sean is a playwright (To the Last Hawaiian Soldier, Wilcox's Shot) and moonlights as a vocalist/guitarist with local improv rock band Oil in the Alley; Sean plays multiple instruments onstage in Indecent with his daughter Ruby O'Malley on violin.