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

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Nov 23 08:58:50 EST 2005


Kidman strips off on London stage for £250 a week
By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent

NICOLE Kidman joined the growing ranks of Hollywood stars re-learning
their stage skills in small London theatres last night when she appeared
naked at the Donmar Warehouse in the first night of Sir David Hare's The
Blue Room.

For just £250 a week - the union basic minimum - she is appearing until
the end of October in a challenging role playing five separate women
having passionate affairs.

In the two-handed play - she stars opposite the Scottish actor Iain Glen
- she must simulate love-making with him five times in the 100-minute
play. Preview audiences have reported being stunned by the intimacy on

At little over £40 per performance, the multi-millionaire star of
Malice, Portrait of a Lady and Batman Forever, has sold out the
cash-strapped 250-seat theatre until the end of its run. Kidman, 31, had
not acted on stage for a decade and never in this country.

She and her husband, Tom Cruise, have been living in England for 18
months while working on Stanley Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut, which is
now complete. Kubrick is a perfectionist and filming has taken so long
that Cruise and Kidman have talked about settling in England.

Their children go to English schools and they are renting a house in
Kensington. They have become regular West End theatre-goers and Kidman,
in particular, has been frequently to the Donmar and become close
friends with director Sam Mendes, who is tipped to run the National
Theatre one day. When he asked her to appear in Hare's new play - a
re-working of Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde, which scandalised Berlin
where it opened in the Twenties - she says she had no hesitation in

During five weeks of rehearsals, Kidman disclosed that her agent was not
happy. She said: "My agent went 'You're doing what? For how long?' No
doubt they were rapidly working out their percentage of £250 a week.
They used to try to tell me what to do but now they've given up. I'm a
lost cause. I usually call and tell them what I'm doing." Cruise was
said to be baby-sitting and was not planning to attend the first night,
though he was expected at one of two post-show private parties being
given for the crew and cast. He saw his wife in a preview last week.

Australian-born Kidman is not alone among the best paid film stars in
taking a break from Hollywood to try their hand on the British stage. In
the past two years Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson and
Kevin Spacey have all worked for £250 a week at the fashionable Almeida
Theatre in Islington, north London.

The preview audiences for The Blue Room have reported that the
pencil-thin Kidman has been giving "magnificent" performances over the
past week. The original play is a chain of sexual affairs in Vienna
across class barriers in which a prostitute meets a soldier, a soldier
meets a maid, a maid meets a student and so on. Sir David has re-worked
it as a two-hander in modern times.

Many of those who have seen the play say Kidman's nudity - which is
handled discreetly - and the passion she engenders with Glen is almost
unbearable. One member of a preview audience said: "You're afraid to
blink. You blush until you can blush no longer. It's quite an

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