Stage plays that feature nudity

Yeah, I know. I’ve seen it multiple times, too. (I mentioned the specific time to show that I’d seen it early on, and it certainly wasn’t part of the show then.) I’ve still never seen or heard of it being done with a nude scene, and I’d be very surprised to hear of anyone doing it. It would send a very mixed message.

Well, the first Broadway play to feature nudity, I believe, was "Heloise and Abelard,” which starred Diana Rigg, who was then at the height of her beauty.

That alone should have made it a huge hit, but it didn’t run very long.

I haven’t seen it, but I think some productions of David Rabe’s “In the Boom Boom Room” feature topless dancing.

Spring Awakening has full nudity, but not consistently. I met some members of the crew who told me that it was up to the actors in the moment whether they would fully disrobe at each performance or not.

I saw The Full Monty and a bright light is shined behind the actors as they take the last bit of covering off. You do see them flash their behinds just before the big reveal, but unless you have eyes strong enough to pierce a solar eclipse, you can’t see anything more than that.

I also saw The Graduate performed, which contains disrobing down to the underwear, with unintentionally hilarious results. The actress playing Mrs. Robinson had to remain mic’ed up, complete with a rather large battery pack, which had to be stored in her panties. Thus, when she disrobed, it looked like she had a rather uncomfortable tumor on her ass.

The restaging of Dangerous Liaisons that I saw last year had it.

It’s also a tricky question because nudity can be added to any play whether the playwright asked for it or not. Conversely, even sex scenes can be staged in such a way as to not call for nudity. (’…and light off NOW!’)

Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love was controversial for its nudity, among other things.

I saw Michel Tremblay’s ‘Messe Solenelle pour une pleine lune d’été’ in Québec in '96. The entire play is set on a hot August night when no one can stand to be inside their apartments, and so the 11 characters (5 different couples and a widow) gaze at the full moon from their different balconies. The 3rd scene, Exultate Jubilate, featured the characters Yannick and Isabelle ripping off each other’s clothes and going at it under a blanket on their balcony for the next few scenes. In the script, it says that they leave their balcony, re-enter their house and close the door. Was the director’s choice gratuitous? To some, perhaps - I thought it was an incredible effect because of how it underscored the recklessness of their young passion.

I once saw a performance of Antigone that featured nudity. It was accidental, but it really sparked up Sophocles for me.

In the late 60s, in the wake of Hair and O! Calcutta! stage nudity became pretty gratuitous. I saw a production of Merchant of Venice by San Francisco’s ACT, where Michael Learned (later to become matriarch of The Waltons) went topless. I have long forgotten how it was relevant to the plot.

I saw a production of this in London in the '80’s that contained nudity, which despite my lifelong preference for seeing attractive young women nude, was quite unnecessary. The actress in question had a sheet loosely wrapped around her, at times showing her topless, and at times covering her up. The toplessness didn’t seem to be that critical, which is to say she could have played the scene covered by the sheet and nothing would have been lost.

I happened to be sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row, house left. There was a “fainting couch” onstage down center, and at one point she reclined on it. When she did, due to the position of our seats, I think there were only 3 or 4 people in the audience- me being one of them- who were treated to the view up the sheet between her legs, proving to us that she was quite naked underneath. She played the rest of the scene that way, and being only 18 at the time, I confess I was transfixed.

Ahh, I think that explains why I didn’t see any nudity when I saw it. Or if I did, I don’t remember it. I’m pretty sure they stayed mostly clothed.

I also saw a Tennessee Williams play, Vieux Carre, off Broadway this year that had male nudity during a rape scene.

I saw a traveling production of The Lisbon Traviata (with Richard Thomas) maybe 20 years ago? that had a very nice looking young man walking onstage for a minute or two fully nude. There was nothing in the script, by the way, that made this mandatory, but it was in San Francisco.

It was my first look at a man who had obviously been groomed in the groinal area.

Seems to me most stage adaptations of “The Master and Margarita” keep at least some of the female nudity. I recall one production in Chicago some years ago where the naked lead actress lathered on a magical oil that allowed her to fly. It was certainly erotic, but also very evocative of her newfound freedom–one of the few times I thought stage nudity contributed something to the story other than shock or prurient interest.

Do the nude physical examinations of an AIDS patient in “Angels in America” count?

I seem to recall hearing about a play called “Ducks” or “Geese” or “Swans” or something related to waterfowl. I got the impression it was jumping on the “Hair” and “Oh! Calcutta” bandwagon. Never saw it, and don’t know anything about it. Anybody know the play I’m talking about?

I just saw a musical interpretation of Bonnie and Clyde, that featured male nudity (mostly from the back, but there was one sidal view as well…)

I’m not much into live theater, but I’d go and see that.

When I was in college, there was a production of Hair in the on campus pub. The entire rather attractive cast got completely naked in THE ON CAMPUS PUB! No tricky lighting or anything. I was thrilled.

I’ve just remembered that my university’s production of “Big Love” (the Greek one, not the Mormon) had some female above-the-waist nudity. I’m pretty sure some of the guys appeared shirtless at other times, but that’s much less remarkable.

A lot is up to the production. I’ve seen a production of **Othello with nudity - a wordless opening bedroom scene. I’ve seen Edward II **with nudity.

Yeah, when they disembowel the eponymous king at the end. My friend turned to me when the lights came up and said, “If you didn’t catch it, they killed him by sticking a red hot poker up his ass.”

Clearly, Shakespeare and Marlowe didn’t script nudity.

A play I can’t even remember the name of had a guy who was quadriplegic as the result of an IRA bombing - the point of the scene was the humiliation of having a world-weary nurse replacing a catheter and washing his penis.

Six Degrees of Separation.

King Lear, at least in some performances (though I suppose the text leaves lots of room for different degrees of stripping-off).

One approach is to hide the mic pack in a wig. We looked at that as an option when I was a sound engineer for a road show of Whoopie. The director (a drooling imbecile) wanted Mamie van Doren to strip. We looked at the wig headset option before cooler heads prevailed. Mostly because the smallest microphone available at the time was the Sony EMC-50, and wouldn’t get enough gain before feedback mounted in the wig.

This quote reminds me that I once read the script for “Steambath”, which contains stage directions calling for the actress to de-towel and take a shower.