More nudity here on the blog today. Readers contributed some very nice and thoughtful comments on this topic, the general gist of which was that nudity on stage is cool as long as its justified. However, the criteria theatergoers use to determine what’s justified is as varied as the theatre itself. Check out their comments and you’ll see what I mean.
In the meantime, here are a few words on the subject from someone who has appeared on stage in the buff. Actor Adam Rihacek flaunted his birthday suit in playwright Stan Richardson’s short play, “Patience (Or Taking It),” which was part of Blue Coyote Theater Group’s Standards of Decency Project, and he generously offered these thoughts on the experience:
First we got the text in our body. Then we took the clothes off. [Director] Gary [Shrader] and Stan were very supportive of [actor] Alexis [Suarez’s] and my decision of “when it was right”.
As for nerves or uneasiness, I only get nervous if I’m making another actor feel uncomfortable on stage. In a couple of the early nude rehearsals this happened (not by any one’s fault, just by circumstance) and it really broke my spirit. I felt terrible.
On nudity in the theatre: It should be a non-issue. People know what they are getting into. Warnings are put up for everything (smoking, adult content, strobe lights, etc.). It is, after all, just a body. We all have one.
Adam also told me, as a counterpoint to his closing thoughts above, about a student production of Doug Wright’s Quills in which he played the Marquis De Sade during his final year of college at Wright State University. It was the first and only other time he had appeared nude on stage, and apparently it caused quite a controversy on campus. The production was almost shut down because of it. You can read more about this here and here. My thanks to Adam for the links.