Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

La Jolla Playhouse ‘Indecent’ Explores Legal Battle Over Artistic Expression

A new production at the La Jolla Playhouse looks back at a time when artists in the U.S. were not fully free to express themselves. KPBS Evening Edition host Peggy Pico talks to the show's writer and director.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

A kiss shared between two women on stage may not cause much of a stir today, but that has not always been the case.

Indecent,” a new production at the La Jolla Playhouse, looks back at a time when artists in the U.S. were not fully free to express themselves.

It tells the story of "God of Vengeance,” written by the Jewish playwright Sholem Asch in 1906. A scandal erupted after its debut on Broadway in 1923. The plot, including the lesbian relationship, led to the arrest of the entire cast on obscenity charges.

Paula Vogel, who wrote “Indecent,” said she and director Rebecca Taichman read Asch’s play at different times in their lives. They became obsessed with what happened after its debut.

“Once you encounter it, you become somewhat obsessed with this play,” Vogel told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday.

She said the setting for “Indecent” begins in 1906 and ends in 1952. It shows scenes from “God of Vengeance” and explores the backstage stories and its actors.

“People will leave the theater thinking, ‘I want to read this play,’” Vogel said.

Taichman said “God of Vengeance” explores every possible explosive issue of its time.

“I feel very moved by sharing this story,” she said.

"Indecent" is billed as a play with music. It runs through Dec. 10 at the La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Your curated weekly guide to local arts and culture in San Diego, from Arts Calendar Editor Julia Dixon Evans, delivered to your inbox every Thursday afternoon.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.