After seeing a naked man in a play at the Barbican a few years ago, I was advised by an actor in the bar afterwards that the best way to greet the person concerned, if you should meet them socially, is to stride up to them and say ‘what a magnificent penis.’ By chance, at a party recently, I met a man I had seen naked on stage about five years before. As realisation dawned, however, all I could manage was ‘Oh, I’ve seen your, er…your Rites of Spring’. My all time favourite on-stage nudity was during a solo dance by Mark Morris, enfant terrible* (he’s 50 years old) of the New York ballet scene. He’s a beefy man but his deportment is beautiful. He danced to a spoken soundtrack about (as I recall) a pig and a hot air balloon. He wore a white nightshirt and he was naked underneath it. As he leaped around the stage, his nightshirt would billow up and you’d get one of those ‘oh, hello there’ glimpses of his penis. The performance was both elegant and witty. But that’s the avant-garde for you.
* not to be confused with Michael Clark, the enfant terrible of British dance, who is only 45