For local actor Sean Parsons the whole idea of being part of the upcoming Fighting Chance Productions presentation of the 1960s musical Hair is intriguing. That and the nude scene, of course.
There are few scenes in any musical, or stage play for that matter, that have received as much ink as the (in)famous nude scene in Hair. Wikipedia even devotes a whole section on that scene alone. So it is perhaps a little hard to believe that the nudity lasts for all of 20 seconds in the stage version and was completely removed from the 1979 movie version.
But despite its relatively minor role within this musical with its anti-war message, free love and drugs, it still remains the number one topic of conversation when the show is mentioned. The upcoming Fighing Chance Productions presentation is no different.
When asked if he would stage his version of Hair with the nude scene intact, Director Ryan Mooney remains quite non-committal. For actor Sean Parsons though, who plays the role of Berger, should the request come to strip down he says he is ready.
“Much to my mother’s dismay, I’m definitely willing to get naked,” confessed Parsons. “I think it will be one small, yet crucial detail in creating an impact with this show. It is a show full of symbolism and strong imagery and messages, and a stage full of naked, vulnerable men and women in a non-sexual context is extremely powerful.”
The reaction to nudity on stage is undeniable. Despite being constantly exposed to nudity in movies, television, music video and online there still is, according to Parsons, an irrational fear.
“The distance provided by a TV screen or computer monitor is enough for people to feel comfortable, but when nudity is in a live setting, people suddenly become prudish, or revert to being giggling children,” he said. “I think generations of conservative or religious upbringings have created a society where people are uncomfortable in their own skin, so it is shocking to see that seeming comfort represented on stage”.
As for the actual act of getting naked on stage, Parsons’ initial immediate reaction was to see little difference in being nude on stage or on film. As he thought about it though this initial reaction changed.
“A film actor has that nude scene floating in the universe forever, and on stage the moment is fleeting but you share that moment with an audience, night after night.”
“Actually, now that I think about it, it is more difficult on stage!”
One thing for sure though, regardless of whether Parsons gets the opportunity to bare it all on stage, the very possibility will probably keep us talking (and guessing) right up to opening night.