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Help with research - Nudity on stage


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#1 Laughingmonsta

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 04:56 PM

Hi i wonder if any of you could help me conduct some research, by adding your comments to the follwing questions!

Nudity on stage

With the revival of Equus in the west end, and the press coverage of Daniel Radcliffe being naked on stage;

1) does nudity have a place on stage?

2) does nudity in a show make us attend/not attend a show?

3) do we as public go to see shows with nudity to be vouyers and see a star naked?

4) with more shows using nudity eg blue room, trainspotting, equus etc is this a publicity ploy by producers?

if you have any other comments etc  then that would be very helpful
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#2 curzon

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:06 PM

I will try and reply at more length later. Meanwhile I would like to state that the nudity in "Equus" is essential to the play and entirely non-gratuitous. Any production which cut or fudged it would be a travesty.

Sebastian

#3 Laughingmonsta

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 07:44 PM

QUOTE(curzon @ Mar 3 2007, 06:06 PM) View Post
I will try and reply at more length later. Meanwhile I would like to state that the nudity in "Equus" is essential to the play and entirely non-gratuitous. Any production which cut or fudged it would be a travesty.

Sebastian


completey understand why the nudity is in equus and understand why its important for the play, its just it came at a time when i am undergoing research into the use of nudity and just thought i'd use it as a spur into the topic!
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#4 Reich

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 08:17 PM



1) does nudity have a place on stage?


Yes. it's a part of every day life

2) does nudity in a show make us attend/not attend a show?


I will see a piece of theatre because I want to not because of a whiff of cock

3) do we as public go to see shows with nudity to be vouyers and see a star naked?

Or it's a piece of theatre you want to see. Nudity is nothing to do with it for me

4) with more shows using nudity eg blue room, trainspotting, equus etc is this a publicity ploy by producers?

I guess it is sometimes


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#5 curzon

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 09:13 PM

QUOTE(Laughingmonsta @ Mar 3 2007, 07:44 PM) View Post
completey understand why the nudity is in equus and understand why its important for the play, its just it came at a time when i am undergoing research into the use of nudity and just thought i'd use it as a spur into the topic!
Not having a go at you. But from some of the press one might have thought that it was some sort of publicity stunt i.e. "See Harry's magic wand! fnarr fnarr!"

Sebastian


#6 Ian

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:20 AM

1) does nudity have a place on stage?

In most instances certainly.

2) does nudity in a show make us attend/not attend a show?

Me personally generally no I go  for the play - any nudity is a bonus! Although I have to admit there are a few actors whose disrobing would be an attraction ohmy.gif  Amongst the wider public then yes. The Blue Room is such a boring play - would people have packed out the Donmar without Kidman stripping off?

3) do we as public go to see shows with nudity to be vouyers and see a star naked?

In general yes - see above

4) with more shows using nudity eg blue room, trainspotting, equus etc is this a publicity ploy by producers?

If it gets bums on seats why knock it? Although there has been nudity on stage regularly since the Lord Chamberlain stopped censoring plays in 1968 - I am not sure there is more at present than in previous years / decades.

I have never understood our (the UK's) obsesssion with nudity. Why is seeing a naked body such a taboo here? Crazies!
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#7 wickedgrin

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 07:57 AM

Well an interesting question!
IMO nudity is rarely "essential" to the play or show. However, Equus is a rare example of this as one of the themes of the play is about adolescent sexuality, confusion and humiliation.
With most plays, however, the nudity is included by either the author or producer/director with an eye on the box office as amazingly nudity "sells" like a star performer. If you get a star performer nude you can hit the box office jackpot! Think Nicole Kidman in the Blue Room or The Graduate ( with various stars) as recent examples. Now we have Daniel Radcliffe in Equus. All these plays would have had a very short, unexceptional run without the nudity.
The current producion of Cabaret has nudity in the show - totally unnecessary but is obviously attracting the punters!
I personally go and see a play or a show if it appeals regardless of who is in it or to an even lesser extent whether it has nudity in it - but I am not your average punter!
But it's all about box office - this is show BUSINESS and a wise producer will do everything in their power to get bums on seats and nudity does sell. Look at all the free publicity a naked Daniel Radcliffe has created in the press - which usually isn't interested in theatre at all - you simply couldn't afford to buy the advertising space! This has resulted  in a box office smash (and a New York transfer with producers queing up to do it) for a straight play which is 35 years old which normally would not see the light of day against all the musicals.
Producers up and down the land must be scouring the arcives for plays with nude scenes - preferably with one set, two actors and seeing how many agents can persuade their "stars" to get their kit off - for the sake of their "art" obviously!!

#8 Matthew Winn

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 09:17 AM

In general nudity puts me off a little. In most cases it has an air of desperation about it: "Come and see our show! We have naked people! (begging) Please buy tickets." In general I find that "contains nudity" and "not very good" tend to go hand in hand (as do "contains simulated nude sex" and "dreck"). "Contains nudity" should be a warning but it's usually presented as a boast.

In addition, unless a performer is supremely confident there's always a slight embarrassment about the nudity that comes across in the performance. After all, few people would be happy about walking down the street naked with complete strangers eyeing up their bits, and from the awkwardness of the few nude scenes I've seen it appears that the situation is no different when those strangers are forking out money for the privilege. That doesn't make for good acting.

I think that with sufficiently good writing and acting it's possible to achieve the same dramatic results as nudity without actually having to titillate the audience by showing it, and I'm invariably a little disappointed when a production must resort to a literal depiction of nudity. It's similar to the way I feel about set design, where one production represents a house by using a few carefully placed window frames while another can only do it by putting a house on the stage. There's a part of me that says "Couldn't you have used a little more imagination so we could have used ours?"
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#9 josh

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:08 AM

QUOTE(wickedgrin @ Mar 4 2007, 07:57 AM) View Post
The current producion of Cabaret has nudity in the show - totally unnecessary but is obviously attracting the punters!



Totally unnecessary? Have you seen it? It sounds like you have personal issues with nudity or something...!
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#10 Snout

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:28 AM

Nudity certainly now seems to be more common on the stage than prayer. The novelty value will shrivel but in Equus it is, as noted above, not gratuitous.
So far most stage nudity has been performed by good-looking actors and (more often) actresses. Might the next step in the shock scale be to have more nudity by fatties?




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