Monday, February 15, 2010

My Naked Truth

Regarding the nudity, or lack of it, in the Aurora Fox's production of "The Graduate", John Moore's mention of it in the Sunday Denver Post and the current dialogue... The decision about the nudity was made before I signed on to do the show. I was aware that the script called for it when I auditioned and as a professional actress and playwright, I would have bucked up (or should I say 'buffed up'?) and done it. Frankly, I am not a fan of alterations to theatre (that's for you John) scripts, and I'm not sure of a playwright who is. I find additions, subtractions and 'improvements' to plays by other theatre artists disrespectful at the least, hubris if I'm being dramatic. As an actress/playwright I must remember which hat is on my head to avoid conflict, though we writers actually have unions and guilds to prevent these decisions from being made and recourse for them when they are. But that's a discussion for another column, another blog.
Basically, disregarding the author's intent is equal to the actor not honoring the director's directorial notes, or the costume designer blowing off the agreed upon color palette, you get the idea. It says that you may have your job, but I know better. What if, for example, playing Mrs. Robinson I chose to take the same liberty and come out one evening stark naked? The hierarchy of theatre has always been skewed. We claim to serve the play and mouth that the playwright is king or queen, then make changes as suits our needs. Happens in film, happens in TV... where there's a writer, there's an editor. The line of demarcation here is in intent. Does deleting the stage direction of her nudity alter the action of the scene or the impact on the characters? Does it make my Mrs. Robinson more or less seductive, powerful or desperate? I don't think so. Would it be more shocking and intimate if I were standing naked in front of Jack Wefso as my Benjamin? Yes. But the real vulnerability would have happened between us, in rehearsal, long before the audience filed in. I'm sure there are many theaters in Aurora and in Glendale for that matter, where the nudity of the woman on stage would be critical to the quality of the show. I don't think that would apply in this case. Theatre ethics and theatrical risk aside, the real and most important question here is this: would the show receive more stars if I showed my tits?

1 comment:

  1. I saw the show and found the nudity to be a non-issue. The acting and ensemble work was top-notch and drew me into the story. Jack Wefso leads the cast and does an immaculate job of the moment, so that the emotional content is conveyed perfectly.