[Milton-L] "nude, not naked" -- really?

gilliaca at jmu.edu gilliaca at jmu.edu
Wed Nov 23 08:52:13 EST 2005

 my undergraduates' response to our class field trip last 
semester to
>see a performance Zimmerman's play _Metamorphoses_, which 
includes one nude
>scene, ranged from awe to humorously prurient ("why weren't 
any chicks
>naked?!") to insulted.  If filming or staging nudity were 
easy and always
>meaningful, it would be done frequently, and it isn't.

True enough. Had your students been told to expect a nude 
scene?  My only experience with nudity on the stage way back 
in grad school when I saw a road company of "Hair" in 
Detroit - by then everyone knew there would be a nude scene - 
at the end of act one, I think [it HAS been a while!]. It was 
over almost before it started. I think I may have been the 
only member of the audience not stoned, too.

I'm not surprised at the range of undergraduate responses. A 
colleague here had a young woman angrily drop her course in 
feminist lit because the student found "Lysistrada" [in quite 
a subdued translation] obscene. In a course in gay and 
lesbain lit that I teach, I once had a student find that the 
used copy of "Rubyfruit Jungle" she had bought had the 
word 'bastard' scratched out every time it was used. Since 
the protagonist is one, this was frequent, but 'bastard' is 
mild compared to other language in the novel. So I don't let 
undergraduates dictate my reading.

Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU
JMU Safe Zones participant
"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston

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