Shakespeare in the Park is a great free summer thing to do, but tickets are impossible to get and you’ve got to go all the way into Manhattan to sit in Central Park theater for hours, where you run the risk of losing you WNYC totebag among all the other WNYC totebags in attendance. Brooklyn has a few of our own versions; now we’re getting a new one that definitely feels more at home in our borough than tony enclaves of the Upper West Side.
A troupe of female actors is doing a run of all-nude performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest starting Sept. 7. As the Brooklyn Paper reports today: “The show’s male director says that the stripped-down show is designed to promote body positivity — but he also knew that using unclad actors would create some conversation.” Director Pitr Strait told the paper: “We asked ‘How do we work nudity into the play so Shakespeare doesn’t get swallowed up and so the huge, distracting thing works for us?'” And while nudity is illegal in NYC (but not toplessness!), the city makes special exceptions for performance art. In short, these ladies will really bard it all for you.
The play, which will run from Sept. 7-10 at 5:30pm at the park’s Music Pagoda, will feature a cast of eight actors, three dancers and two musicians, with costume design by Enée Olson and assistant direction is by Alexander Katz. The performance is a production of the Torn Out Theater and supported by the Topless Coed Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society, the reading group that is exactly what it sounds like, whom we interviewed here. The nude troupe performed the play in May in Central Park too.
“The play’s selective use of nudity to dramatize The Tempest’s central themes of identity and liberation builds on a long tradition of free expression in theatrical productions held in outdoor settings,” production notes explain, according to Playbill.
You should arrive 30 minutes prior to curtain; seating is first-come, first-served. The Music Pagoda has limited bleacher seating available, and you’re welcome to bring picnic blankets.
Here are all the naked Shakespeare puns we couldn’t fit into this post:
Romans, countrymen, lend me your rears!
Et tu, nudity?
Nude actors need to be wary of King Leers,
Remember: making a big deal about nudity is much ado about wearing nothing.
Find more info here.