The go-go dancers of the Kitty Kat Lounge in South Bend, Indiana, claimed a First Amendment right to dance totally nude. Indiana law disagreed. So in 1991 the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court, and the justices debated the definition of dance, nudity in opera houses versus nudity in strip clubs, and whether erotic dancing is artistic expression or a crime. Now, the ever-provocative theater group Elevator Repair Service (ERS) revisits this landmark case—verbatim—and all the socially loaded questions it still contains. Their hilarious and intelligent Arguendo brings the Supreme Court oral arguments to the stage, along with an interview with an erotic dancer who wants to be able to earn her living.

Arguendo (from the Latin “for the sake of argument”) plumbs the tension between two cherished aspects of being American: the unquestioned freedom to express oneself without fear of retribution, and the moral code of the larger society. It takes the “brainy, subversive sense of humor” (New York Times) of ERS to capture both the intellectual substance and comedic edges of this ongoing push and pull within our American identity—and turn it into riveting theater.

Recommended for mature audiences: some nudity
Running time: 80 minutes

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