The Nudity Continues

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.

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2 Responses to The Nudity Continues

  1. RLewis says:

    Quills is on my top-5 list of best shows i’ve ever seen, and Rocco Sisto is always amazing, clothes or not. Too bad it was followed at NYTW by Rent – stole its thunder. Nudity is not such a biggie for me, but maybe I’ve just been around too long. It’s kinda like whether an actor uses his own clothes or the costumers – i don’t care as long as it fits. But for those who do care, I hope that you’re going to see Annie Sprinkle’s new show at Collective: UnConscious. I hear there’s even an opportunity for audience participation, so I’ll be there this weekend. Have fun. -R

  2. JohnB says:

    As a figure drawing model, I can’t imagine the actors balking. It’s a job, you do it. I have anywhere from 5 to 15 people as my “audience”. The more the merrier.

    Perhaps actors pondering this question might benefit from posing as figure models several times to get acquainted with the idea. This would allow them to put aside their concerns on stage and focus on their performances.

    The nudity itself can be as essential to the story as some costumes can be gratuitous or superfluous: merely for the self-aggrandizement of the playwright or costumer. Comments that I have read over the years seem to focus on stage nudity in particular, when there might be just as much reaction to a titillating or flamboyant costume on stage that passes without much commentary. I have seen girls nude at the beach and thought “that’s nice” whereas in a hot bikini the same girls riveted my attention.

    So the nudity is just another costume, albeit an interesting one!

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