I spend much of my professional life naked. Big screen, TV, theatre, nightclub – my bare bottom (and everything else besides) has graced them all.
I recently toured the UK performing in what was, perhaps misleadingly, dubbed a ‘naked gay comedy’ seeing as my character was the only person who was truly naked through the entirety of the show. I have also been waving my manhood throughout the year on the stages of some of the biggest theatres in the country for The Dreamboys national tour show.
Post-performance, when one is sometimes greeted by ‘fans’ and other audience members alike, I often become wrapped in conversation with the curious minds of some of those attendees and frequently told that I “must be brave” to get naked on stage. “Brave?”, I say. “There’s nothing brave about it. Its just a c**k! Nothing could be more natural”.
Yet again, I am dumb-founded by the ability of the human race to alienate itself from… well, itself. Its total inability to deal with the most natural and inevitable parts of being human – nudity, sexual intercourse, death. What other species has sanitised itself from itself to such an extent that any attempt to venture openly, beyond the limited constraints that societal norms have imposed, into any of these aforementioned territories is considered an act of ‘bravery’?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why public nudity is considered ‘brave’ by some. I was not born yesterday. I have grown up in the same society as those who make that statement.
Also, please do not believe that public nudity was something I just jumped into overnight. It was not. That it was not something that I was not, at the very least, slightly nervous about doing the first few times because I would be lying if I said otherwise. But being nervous is a natural emotion any time that I am about to perform. Nowadays, it has very little to do with being nude and more about the anticipation and the not knowing how the audience will react to me and my performance. Either way, it is certainly no act of bravery to be dressed in nothing but my birthday suit. It is simply a sad reflection on our society that so many deem it as such.
Not that I’m complaining. If it wasn’t for the ‘shock’ factor, I’d doubt there would be any money in it for me. So, thank you, warped society!
On another note: having performed alongside professional actors on numerous occasions and spoken about the subject of nudity in acting to many of them, I am totally shocked that anyone who would even dare describe themselves as a ‘professional’ actor, could, on any grounds, refuse to go nude.
Many acting schools, as part of their courses, do lessons on stage nudity. According to students I have spoken to, the level of nudity that one goes to is down to the individual.
Personally, I think its a cop-out. If you are a PROFESSIONAL actor, you must be prepared to play any role and do anything that is required of you. The role of an actor is to act, to portray a character as seen by a script-writer through a director. That any actor could turn to a director and say “I’m sorry, I’m not doing that” is a poor reflection on the limits of their acting abilities. You are not playing yourself, with all your insecurities. You leave them at the door the moment you take on the role of a given character. If you are incapable of immersing yourself into all the requirements of the character that you have been assigned, might I suggest you take a step back and reflect on why on earth you are doing the job you are doing? Acting is a highly competitive field, its not meant to be an easy ride.
There’s nothing brave about being nude on stage. Taking your clothes off is the easy part. Now act!