You know, it's funny.
You get the audition, you get the job, you know the details, and you're just excited to do the work. But then you're in rehearsals dancing in your underwear in front of a mirror all day with 5 other guys, and then maybe they're trying a G-string on you during a costume fitting... and it hits you.
I'm doing The Full Monty.
I wouldn't really call myself an exhibitionist. No, seriously; I've always been very outgoing, as many Actors are, but I wouldn't consider myself a candidate for a nudist colony. Not that I think that's a bad thing; once many years ago I spent a week camping at a private 'clothing optional' resort in Colorado, and once I got over the initial shock I had a terrific time. I would go hiking in a hat, PLENTY of sunscreen, and good shoes. That's it. Interestingly, as I was leaving and putting on clothes for the first time in a week, I found them to be terribly constricting. But on to the larger question (pun intended):
Is nudity onstage (and in film) always gratuitous? Or is it ever actually necessary?
People have widely differing opinions. In my experience, Americans are far less comfortable with being or even watching 'in the altogether' than other cultures. One wonders if, to this day, we're still somewhat hamstrung by our puritanical ancestry. I would bet that most Americans find nudity gratuitous 98.9% of the time. Yet, if that is so, why is porn so popular in this country?
Enough with generalities. On to particulars.
I find that in my present show, The Full Monty, nudity is absolutely necessary. The play is about 6 men who are out of work in Buffalo, who decide to become strippers to make some quick cash - but that's only the surface of the story. What we find over the course of the evening is that in a deeper sense the story is about facing one's truth / true self... as each of these characters in this play do, layer by layer. And it's the process of getting naked, of shedding layer after layer of preconceptions, prejudices and the like, that saves these characters. Getting down to their own truths, to what is really important, can only happen... if they get naked.
So maybe we, as a culture, should drop trou more often. What do you think?