Coming to Williamstown: “Arguendo” Recreates 1991 Supreme Court Argument Over Nude Go-Go Dancers [Berkshire on Stage]
Williams College is presenting a theatrical work on Tuesday (February 11) by an unlikely new playwright, the U.S. Supreme Court, at its ’62 Center for Theater & Dance.
It is a play being presented by the NYC theater company Elevator Repair Service (ERS) and though it is simply titled Arguendo, it is also accompanied by this notice: “Parental discretion advised: nudity.”
Nevertheless it is a provocative and important subject to explore. Starting from the question, “Does a state prohibition against complete nudity in public violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of Freedom of Expression?” ERS tackles Barnes v. Glen Theatre, a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case. 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. There will be one performance only, on Tuesday, February 11 at 8pm on the ’62 Center’s MainStage, located at 1000 Main Street, in Williamstown, MA. Tickets are $10; $3 students.