The Village Voice September 25, 2013

Joan Marcus


Arguendo Is Full of Supremely Naughty Charm

by Alexis Soloski


Who knew Supreme Court justices have such complicated, libidinous inner lives? Anthony Kennedy muses on adults-only car washes. Sandra Day O’Connor contemplates pornographic videos. Antonin Scalia obsesses over nude opera. These racy reveries appear in Arguendo, a verbatim theater piece from Elevator Repair Service at the Public Theater.

As in the celebrated Gatz, a seven-hour epic that included every word of The Great Gatsby, the troupe again stages a text in its entirety: the oral arguments of a 1991 First Amendment case centered on a statute requiring exotic dancers to wear G-strings. The court had to decide whether such dance constitutes expressive speech or merely lewdness for profit.

This is a cheeky subject for any theater company working to reconcile art and ticket sales. The arguments presented by the five-member cast are funny, weird, and deeply dull, so director John Collins gooses the action with swivel-chair dance routines and an eye-searing striptease, while designer Ben Rubin‘s projections take a dizzyingly kinetic approach to precedent. If this piece lacks the sneaky pathos of ERS’s best work, it has a naughty charm, happy to reduce the highest court in the land to a series of dirty jokes.


Read the original article here.