The Tempest, a story of magic and monsters and one of the Bard’s latest plays, has seen many an interpretation over the centuries. One of the oddest, and surely the most thoroughly post-everything, has taken place in New Yawk’s Central Park.
An outfit called the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society (I know, I know — sounds like the title to one of Tom Wolfe’s early essays) put the play on with all women, and all of them nude. Why all women? The madcaps at Outdoor Co-ed don’t say. (But we do know that in some circles men are considered unnecessary.) As for why naked, that’s easy. It’s about “body freedom and free expression.”
Oh. See, you thought it was due to Outdoor Co-ed having an inadequate budget for costumes.
The company says they’re promoting the normalization of the naked female body, and in select instances this could be a very fine thing. But as much as I’m an appreciator of the female form, I’m not sure the timing is right for the general as we’re in the midst of an epidemic of obesity. And let us pray that neither Outdoor Co-ed, nor anyone else, gets on a kick for normalizing male nudity. There are enough eye-sores in the public square as is without adding hairy backsides to the mix.
The accounts I read of the play have little to say about the quality of the performances, the reviewers I suppose being so bemused and transfixed by all the skin. I don’t know how this Tempest, excuse the expression, stacked-up against others in the mind of the viewers. But I’m sure every man in the audience and 80 percent of the women could tell you which actress had the best looking pair of…
Silly stuff, to be sure. But after all this is New York in 2016. It least it led to a very fine lead in a column in New York’s “Daily News,” to wit: “It’s a ‘Tempest’ in a C-cup.” Wish I’d written that.