August 7, 2005

"The nudity at that moment was so essential to the storytelling and the revelation of character."

That's what you'd expect them to say, but this other quote, from an article about all the nudity in Broadway and Off Broadway plays, rings true:
"There is no question that nudity has been used to try to artistically justify a false moment, or to cover up mediocre playwriting or, more commonly, to sensationalize a play to get people in the seats."
And why all the male nudity? In current shows, there are 40 naked men and only 10 naked women:
"Maybe a naked male is threatening, maybe it's fear, or homophobia," he said. "I think an artist who chooses to use nudity is trying to communicate something. And I think a penis is more theatrical."
Clearly, male nudity means something different from female nudity, but we might want to know whether these plays are about producing meaning and not just producing profits before we should bother to plumb those depths.

Side note: I used to go to life drawing sessions here on campus, and the organizer once admitted that the artists used to call her up in advance to try to find out if the model was going to be male or female. They were planning to skip the session if the model was male! She wouldn't tell them though and was offended that they'd even ask.

7 comments:

Mark said...

In the article, the gay man talks about "fear" of the naked male, while the lesbian talks about "fear" of women's bodies.

Is he talking about her and she talking about him?

amba said...

"And I think a penis is more theatrical." Great line!

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, and the theater is more penis-like than ordinary life. The whole idea of a story arc -- beginning, middle, and end -- you just know the male playwrights got that idea from their penises!

mcg said...

Penises are harder to draw than, well, not.

Ann Althouse said...

Penises tend not to strike an interesting pose. It's the rest of the body that counts in a figure drawing, and unless the man is very muscular, there aren't interesting enough shapes.

PatCA said...

"warning, brief nudity" is always guaranteed to generate at least a few ticket sales.

Back in my Life Drawingc classes, the male models usually wore a thong-type thing. Even in art school, concentrating on that difficult little portion of the anatomy seemed taboo.

Brian O'Connell said...

I don't see any mystery here. The theater has long been a gay stronghold, secretly. Now everyone's out about it.

This is a sideways argument against gay rights. Suffering often produces great art. Take away the suffering, and art is diminished. There's something to be said for sublimation.

There won't be any more Streetcars- today's playwright will just throw some naked guy up on the stage.

I'm only half-serious of course. I think what I'm saying is descriptive, but shouldn't be taken as proscriptive.