Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Naked July Festival

Art Stripped Downnaked july festival

At National Pastime Theater:

“The Emperor’s New Clothes”

By Keely Haddad-Null

Directed by Carolyne Anderson

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

Through August 1, 2010


The Living Canvas: “Demons”

Adapted and directed by Lisa Adams

Projections by Pete Guither

Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm

Double bill of nude shows exposes fearless actors

Naked July Festival, now in its second year, presents a skin-deep look at fearless actors totally uninhibited as they celebrate the human body in all its glory.  One of the aims of the festival is “to reveal the human body as beautiful in every shape, size and color”–the differences lead us to the innate similarities.

naked july festival

Told through four short art pieces, the Naked July Festival is sensual, but tasteful, use of nudity to both tell stories and free the performers and actors of their attachments to convention -such as clothes.

The first work- “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a political satire of a corrupt L.A. mayor and his advisers/enemies.  Based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale, New Clothes stripes away more than the mayor and his wife’s clothing- it highlights the banality of political celebrity. While the story could use a trimming of about 10  minutes, the 65 minute shows moves from political satire to an exhibition of middle aged and plus sized naked folks parading on stage completely having fun with their bodies. Don Claudin is fearless as the mayor proving that gray-headed men can command a stage naked.

The ten o’clock show is a favorite of mine. The Living Canvas folks produce performance art pieces featuring a cast of nude performers dancing and creating expressive movements naked but shadowed by a series of video projections to the tune of techno-pop music. This show is a expression of storytelling told with whimsical movement and dance devoid of dialogue. The choreography by Meagan Picocci is stylish and brave. Emily Mark and Miona Harris anchor the work. The actors are at ease as the celebrate their bodies in a stylish and creative work.

naked july festival

One of the missions of the Living Canvas  is to celebrate the human body in their work–therefore–they invite audience members to join them on stage nude to dance their inhibitions away. Three men and a woman did just that. A good time was had by all. If you ever want to experience nudity as art and personally-get to the Naked July Festival and strip away your inhibitions.

Recommended for the brave

Tom Williams

At National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL, call 773-327-7077, tickets $20 per show, through August 1, 2010–their are 4 shows in the festival.

One thought on “Naked July Festival

  • Kathleen Marik

    What you said! I LOVE seeing everyday people, not stereotypically perfect Hollywoods; unapologetically, and unabashedly present themselves, flaws and all!
    When people do that with self love, WE love them too! And in turn we love ourselves more!

    I thought The Emperor’s New Clothes, at The National Pastime Theater was quite entertaining.
    Meg Elliot’s Korminsky was funny in a Groucho Marx kind of way. Mary Roberts, David Bettino, and Taylor Entwistle were film noir snappy as the emperor’s evil advisors.
    Don Claudin’s Emperor, coming out naked, and everyone reacting to his “outfit” was quite a funny moment. His cocky strutting-was right on the money for the entire show. Miona Harris’ Empress and Meg Elliot’s Tailor, found some poignant connections with each other.

    This play is interesting, cohesive, funny, and has decent production value. Worth the twenty dollar price tag!
    I saw this show twice. The first time I wasn’t as impressed, but went again, letting my brother foot the bill. They made improvements in a week that quite frankly, made it a different show.
    That’s what I like to see in theater: a living creation, ever changing, and always improving.
    by Kathleen Marik

Leave a Reply