The fabulous Elevator Repair Service has taken a break from their American Lit plays to present a little gem of a show called Arguendo.
The premise of Arguendo is a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case, Barnes v. Glen Theatre, brought by a group of go-go dancers who claimed a First Amendment right to dance totally nude. The case examines an Indiana law that banned public nudity. At oral argument, the Justices attempt to define dance, ponder nudity in opera houses vs. strip-clubs, and ask whether naked erotic dancing is artistic expression or immoral conduct.
Arguendo is a staging of Barnes v. Glen Theatre’s entire oral argument, verbatim, interspersed with bits of real interviews with the justices, the lawyers and an exotic dancer who traveled all the way from the Déja Vu Club in Saginaw, Michigan to listen to the argument at The Supreme Court. It all culminates in an operatic dance frenzy, complete with some nudity.
If this all sounds a little dry, rest assured that the usual ERS inventions are all present including hilarious sounds effects and dazzling video work highlighting legal case citing. What becomes most interesting are the supreme court justices own hangups and humanity while trying to sort through the facts of the case with questions like: Can dance express something? Would nudity be more acceptable in opera? Why is the establishment where the woman are dancing called a "bookstore"? What is a public place?
This is a smart and entertaining 80 minutes.
The Public Theater presents
Elevator Repair Services'
Through October 6, 2013
For tickets and info: click here
There are several talk-backs scheduled which will probably be fascinating, as this is a show that definitely makes you want to talk afterwards:
Sunday Sept 15 @ 7pm – Bill Araiza
Sunday Sept 22 @ 7pm – David Lat
Wednesday Sept 11 – Mark Fleming
Sunday Sept 29 @ 7pm - Christopher Fairman
Wednesday Oct 2 - World Famous BOB