Naked Shakespeare In The Park Returns With Aphra Behn's THE ROVER

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Naked Shakespeare In The Park Returns With Aphra Behn's THE ROVER

the company that received international media attention for their all-female production of The Tempest and all-male production of Hamlet is returning with its first mixed-gender outdoor play featuring full nudity: a production of The Rover, a popular Restoration comedy by Aphra Behn. the company is thrilled to return with a new production that celebrates body freedom and empowerment, and that showcases the work of a less frequently produced female playwright.

Past Torn Out Theater productions have been hailed as "an artful mix of nudity, nature, freedom and artistic expression" (Huffington Post) and "brave and beautiful" (Salon), and OnStage declared that the directors "deserve praise for both concept and execution." Metro lauded their all-male Hamlet, remarking that, "just as female bodies have to be disentangled from sexuality, so do male bodies from violence. Theatrical productions - even ones that end in tragedy - can certainly help with that."

The performance will take place at the Music Pagoda in Prospect Park. Theater-goers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes prior to curtain time as seating is first-come-first-served. No tickets are required for this free production. A limited number of chairs will be available for rental, and lawn seating is free. Audience members wishing to sit on the lawn are welcome to bring picnic blankets or chairs.

Torn Out Theater's plays use a mix of clothing and nudity to explore issues of body positivity and to normalize the naked human form. In our productions, some characters remain clothed while others strip down as fits the story. The Rover will use nudity to explore how our bodies can help define our identity, and how hiding and revealing our identities on our own terms can help to achieve personal freedom.

Set in Italy during Carnival, The Rover is a wild-eyed and transgressive story of love, deception, and liberty. For a few enchanted days, the nobility of Europe can become anyone they like - nuns turn into libertines, pirates into socialites, and lovers into strangers. Safe behind the secrecy of their masks, they mingle and play, looking for love and finding danger.

"The Rover presents some exciting new challenges for us," states Artistic Director Pitr Strait, who will direct the play. "Our past shows have aimed to use nudity in non-sexual contexts, but The Rover is a play about sexual freedom and romantic relationships. Our production will still show nudity in non-sexual ways, but our challenge this year is to combine that portrayal with an exploration of the way that we do sexualize each others' bodies - with or without consent. It's also our first mixed-gender production, and it's a difficult text with some morally ambiguous characters. All of these elements, paired with something as risky as outdoor nudity, present an intense and unique challenge for us, and we're excited to meet that challenge."

Managing Director Diana Levy adds, "Over the last two years, we've discovered that nudity really heightens the stakes of these plays and brings out a lot of different reactions in our audience. The contrast between clothing and nudity can throw the conflict between characters into stark relief, exposing their vulnerability or their power."

"Not everyone realizes that we have lots of costumes in our show," explains Levy. "The nudity is always placed in contrast to clothed characters, and we choose our texts and creative approaches very carefully to ensure that this contrast supports and enhances the story. We think The Rover - a play that's all about which sides of ourselves we expose to each other, and which ones we hide - is perfect for our approach to nudity."

The Rover will be directed by Pitr Strait, Artistic Director of Torn Out Theater. It will feature dramaturgy by Cole J. Stern, fight direction by Lisa Kopitsky, and stage management by Mary Harmer.

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