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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nudity In The Theatre

I was just speaking to some oldish friends about one of the most time honored traditions of American Theatre - Nudity on stage. The question at hand is simple - what's the deal? While I am all for certain types of nudity, the last thing I want to see is a bunch of Naked People prancing around during All My Sons while I'm watching with my parents. At the same time, who am I to tell you that doing a rendition of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers au natural wouldn't be inspired. Or a prelude to a porn flick.

This is not my first foray into this hot button issue. Many people don’t know this, but I originally wanted to do Lysistrata completely in the buff (the actors and actresses, not me – that would be stupid) but a committee made up the dance department, the young republicans, and DISA really put the kibosh on that one. I know what you’re thinking: why would the dance department want to stop my hot Greek action? Apparently their charter with the University states that the Dance department has a strangle hold on all inappropriate nudity during a school sanctioned event. You can’t fight with policy. If you do, you disappear.

I suggested a line of specialty glasses that would be given to the audience before the show started. The show progresses as normal but just before an uncomfortable nudity scene, the stage manager can flip a switch…suddenly a red light starts to blink just above the stage. This is the 10 second warning light, informing the audience that the faint of heart should now slip on said glasses. You see, the glasses would have black bars painted across sections of the lenses creating, in effect, a personalized sensor system or PSS. I had to halt development in the PSS when we couldn’t figure out how to handle the actors moving around on the stage or people sitting in any position but dead center. Not being able to perfect the PSS might very well be my greatest regret from school.

I think nudity is a welcome convention for the stage as long as the women (come on, who wants to see a guy, bare-assed and fancy free) strutting around are consummate professionals who understand the aesthetic value of the nudity in “the world of the play.” And are smoking hot. At the same time, I think that seeing such a spectacle with ones wife, while in some circles could be a prelude to enriching discourse, might very well be one of the worst experiences I can imagine.

But that’s just this humble man’s opinion.