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A Reading of Paula Vogel's Indecent at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York—Monday 18 April 2016

photo of actors on stage
Aaron Halva, Richard Topol (seated), Travis W. Hendrix, Adina Verson, and Katrina Lenk in Indecent. Photo by Carol Rosegg, 2015 

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presented a reading of Paula Vogel's Indecent livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 18 April at 3:30 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles) / 5:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 6:30 p.m. EDT (New York). 

Paula Vogel, who received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play How I Learned To Drive at Vineyard Theatre, returns to the Vineyard with Indecent—a play commissioned by Yale Rep and American Revolutions and co-created with the director Rebecca Taichman (Stage Kiss). Indecent is inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s God Of Vengeance, a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel. Indecent charts the history of an incendiary drama and the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it.

Readings of short excerpts from Indecent, backstage and behind the scenes footage of the work in development, and a discussion with Paula VogelDavid Savran, and Debra Caplan.

Co-curated by Janet Werther, Ph.D student, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Paula Vogel’s most recent project is Indecent, a play commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions and Yale Repertory Theatre. In close collaboration with director Rebecca Taichman, and co-produced by La Jolla Playhouse, Indecent was developed at the Sundance Theatre Lab in 2013. It has been produced at Yale Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse in Fall 2015. It will open at the Vineyard Theatre in May 2016. Don Juan Comes Home From Iraq, her previous play, was written for the Wilma Company in Philadelphia. With director Blanka Zizka and company members, Paula Vogel conducted interviews with veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. Her play How I Learned To Drive received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and New York Drama Critics Award for Best play, as well as winning her second OBIE. Most recently it was produced in Mandarin in Beijing. Other plays include The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot’n’throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, The Oldest Profession, and A Civil War Christmas. In 2004-5 she was playwright in residence at The Signature Theatre. Theatre Communications Group has published four books of her work.

Most recent awards include the American Theatre Hall of Fame, Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lily’s, the William Inge, and the 2015 Thornton Wilder. She is honored to have three awards dedicated to emerging playwrights in her name: The American College Theatre Festival, the Paula Vogel Award given annually by the Vineyard Theatre, and the recent Paula Vogel mentor’s award by Young Playwrights of Philadelphia. From 1984 to 2008, Paula Vogel founded and ran the playwriting program at Brown University; during that time she started a theatre workshop for women in Maximum Security at the Adults Correction Institute in Cranston, Rhode Island. It continues to this day, sponsored by the Pembroke Center for Women at Brown University. From 2008-2012 she was the O’Neill Chair at Yale School of Drama. She now writes and lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

David Savran is a specialist in twentieth and twenty-first century US theatre, musical theatre, popular culture, and social theory. He is the author of eight books, whose wide-ranging subjects include the Wooster Group, Tennessee Williams, Paula Vogel, Tony Kushner, white masculinity, music theatre, and middlebrow cultural production. His most recent book is Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class, the winner of the Joe A. Callaway Prize. He has, in addition, published two collections of interviews with playwrights and has served as a judge for the Obie Awards and the Lucille Lortel Awards and was a juror for the 2011 and 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. He is the former editor of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre and is the Vera Mowry Roberts Distinguished Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Debra Caplan is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Baruch College, CUNY. She is a historian of Yiddish theatre and drama, and her research focuses on Jewish theatrical travel and global artistic networks. Her writing on Yiddish theatre has appeared in Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, Comparative Drama, New England Theatre Journal, Pakn Treger, and American Theatre Magazine. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University in Yiddish. Debra is also a dramaturg, director, and translator for the stage and has worked with Target Margin Theater, the New Yiddish Rep, the Folksbiene, and the Polyphone Festival at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is currently completing a book entitled Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy.

Janet Werther is a Level II PhD student in Theatre at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on theatres as spaces of intergenerational queer exchange, embodiment, and identification in both closeted and contemporary queer performance, and dance and embodiment in musical theatre. Her article “Mary Wigman: Expressionist, feminist, theatre artist” was published in Studies in Musical Theatre. She is also a research fellow through the CUNY Center for Humanities, collaborating with Danspace Project on an upcoming performance platform for the Fall 2016 season. Janet continues to teach dance to children and teens in Brooklyn, NY and maintains a performance practice with the Ballez Company. She will be performing with the Ballez at La MaMa, ETC this spring as part of the La Mama Moves! Dance Festival.

About HowlRound TV
HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre, arts, and cultural community. The channel is at howlround.tv and is a free and shared resource for live events and performances relevant to the world's live arts fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Follow and use hashtag #howlround in Twitter to participate in a community of peers revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field. Our community uses the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). You can become a producer and co-produce with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, contact @HowlRound on Twitter, email tv@howlround.com, or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.

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