SHAKESPEARE IN THE STARK – PART 2
Temecula, CA - “With a little help from my friends” is the song reference that comes to mind when I think about the O.C.T.P.F.A.S. group. In this day of political repression from male-centered objectives concerning our Mother Earth regardless of who is the current or future spokesperson, all the women in my social world are strong women in what they believe. If you happen to believe that the human body is a work of art, like to read outdoors, and are a bit on the whimsy side [do not confuse whimsy with frivolous], then you might have seen a group of coeds in Central Park having a readers circle topless, as in women and men.
The public nudity law in New York City does not discriminate between topless men, a male right like yawning in this country given our indigenous peoples heritage, and women, who at the beginning of the 1900s had to tell a doctor from behind a screen what was wrong with them, as there were no female doctors in any number. Well, you've come a long way, Baby. Blazing a trail for both men and women thespians now is the NYC group the Outdoor Coed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society, who read the fine print in the Big Apple's law and found a wormhole. Artistic events such as plays are exempt from public nudity laws, though they may draw the line for something about Caligula.
As with any play and especially one that will delight your eyes, it is important to know what the play is about, perhaps where it comes from, before the play starts so as to enjoy the interpretation. After the jump we learn about the play and its 'based on a true story' aspect. Once again, this is not a report for the prurient at work or those under 18, unless an art student in Lit Class for extra credit. You rock.
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone. It is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation. He conjures up a storm, the eponymous tempest, to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's lowly nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.
A credited origin source are eyewitness reports by William Strachey and Sylvester Jordain of the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture on the islands of Bermuda, and the subsequent conflict between Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers. In addition, one of Gonzalo's speeches is derived from Montaigne's essay Of the Canibales, and much of Prospero's renunciation speech is taken word for word from a speech by Medea in Ovid's poem Metamorphoses.
The Tempest did not attract a significant amount of attention before the ban on the performance of plays in 1642, and only attained popularity after the Restoration, and then only in adapted versions. In the mid-19th century, theatre productions began to reinstate the original Shakespearean text, and in the 20th century, critics and scholars undertook a significant re-appraisal of the play's value, to the extent that it is now considered to be one of Shakespeare's greatest works.
It has been adapted numerous times in a variety of styles and formats: in music, at least 46 operas by composers such as Fromental Halévy, Zdeněk Fibich and Thomas Adès; orchestral works by Tchaikovsky, Arthur Sullivan and Arthur Honegger; and songs by such diverse artists as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Michael Nyman and Pete Seeger; in literature, Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem With a Guitar, To Jane and W. H. Auden's The Sea and the Mirror; novels by Aimé Césaire and The Diviners by Margaret Laurence; in paintings by William Hogarth, Henry Fuseli, and John Everett Millais; and on screen, the science fiction film Forbidden Planet in 1956. [Source: Wikipedia]
Meet The Cast
With eight outstanding actors, three brilliant dancers, and two gifted musicians, we took over the natural stage at Summit Rock (the highest point in Central Park) and for an audience of more than 200 people each time we performed the play. It was marvelous.
Yes, we had to compete with sirens and helicopters to be heard at some points. But that’s what it means to perform outdoors in the middle of New York City. And yes, one or two people gawked or made needless, uncomfortable comments — but only one or two. (Far worse was the asshole from the New York Post who blustered around with a pair of giant cameras and ignored repeated requests not to disrupt the show. Thanks a lot, Ansel) Fortunately there was only one of him.
The Play's The Thing
On two beautiful days in middle May though rain threatened for a while, our merry band put on a show in Central Park. The show was William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, a story of sorcery and conspiracy and romance on a tropical island, and we performed it with an all female cast of 13, fully nude. And we did that with eight outstanding actors, three brilliant dancers, and two gifted musicians. We took over the natural stage at Summit Rock (the highest point in Central Park) and for an audience of more than 200 people each time, we performed the play. It was marvelous. Nothing could have made us happier.
The presence of a dozen naked women on a lawn in Central Park did not cause the sky to fall or the moral fabric of the city to be rent asunder. On the contrary, it probably went a small way toward teaching people that nudity is not inherently very noteworthy at all. Our bodies themselves are just bodies, and deserve nothing but simple respect. It was our way of giving a wonderful, wonderful beginning to this glorious summer of 2016! We only wish more of you could have come (though the space was filled to overflowing).
Curtain Call and Reviews
On May 19 and 20, we celebrated the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by performing our own version of his final play, The Tempest, in Central Park, with an all-female cast of 13 actors, dancers, and musicians. It was a stripped-down production in two senses: we abridged the script for a shorter running time, and in the rich tradition of live performances that celebrate body freedom and free expression, our performance used nudity to dramatize the conflict between the visitors to Prospero’s island and its inhabitants. Like our bodies and our minds, admission was free for the two performances.
What an adventure! We wound up trending on Facebook, written about by the Daily News, the Associated Press, three British newspapers (the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Mail), New York Newsday, Metro New York, and countless websites (among others, Huffington Post, Salon, and Jezebel).
Not to be outdone, NBC News ran a video story of their own.
We have our own magical island. It’s called Manhattan. And we would love for you to join us there, as naked as the law allows. You don’t need to be an actress, a dancer or a musician. You just need to have a body, and a desire to be free. If you are a bold, body-positive woman — or if you’re unsure, maybe even nervous, but you’d like to be one — you can join us and try it in our company. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a little about yourself. We’re always happy to expand our ranks.
(At last inquiry, the above invitation is also open to pulp fiction readers visiting the city on vacation. Just remember to thoughtfully RSVP first. Also for any Valley visitors who may want to pen their memoirs after a visit for a share, the Temecula Calendar* has an open mind, and you do too, or you wouldn't be reading the real news. - Ed. Kudos to the male photog on set. I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Batman. Nice shooting, Tex. Also condensed and edited for flow.)
*- Now http://beyondsocietycontrol.blogspot.com
*- Now http://beyondsocietycontrol.blogspot.com