Monday, October 20, 2008

Sex and Death on stage and sl

Reuters reports on a new production of Tales of Hoffman. Nudity on stage is a big deal in the opera world these days. For a long time it seemed to me that many singers would be paid to keep their clothes on, not take them off. But maybe there is method to this.

I think we have been through an age of cover ups... and well comb overs too. I think that there is a lust for the unvarnished and exposed in stage and art. SL too is a place where things are both hidden, and exposed. We expose parts of ourselves that don't have a place in the outside world, and even if the truth isn't the physical truth, it's an emotional truth. Opus wished for wings that worked, the beloved cartoon penguin is gone, but everyone is Opus, at least on some days.

Is this a conflict? On one hand to see the exposed flesh and reality, and on the other hand to expose spiritual truth even at the expense of analog truth. I think so, and not. So because people come here, often, searching for real flesh and blood. But how often are they not willing to pay the price to support it. I don't mean in money, but in emotional terms. I think not, because while dropping one's panties is one way of exposing physical truth to the inspecting eye of someone else, we often conceal. How often have I choked back things that I feared might offend someone, and thus deny me his affection? Too often.

The fear of exposing physicality is very real. Do we ever measure up? Can we ever really have that perfect round yet floating perky bust line? Well some of us for a while, but gravity, genetics, and reality, don't allow it for most people most of the time. The exposure is, in it's own way a concealment. It draws the eye away from the emptiness of emotional intimacy. Show skin to hide the absence of touch. Flash a smile, to dazzle, and in the glare of this false happiness, blind the inner eye.

For a moment, for a while.

Exposure to hide is a little death, we ease into it, knowing that we have given up an inner need, to cover over an inner fear. You can show sex on stage, and there is nothing wrong in this. You can show skin irl. And there is certainly nothing wrong in this either. But there are times and ways that it is spirit and not skin, that needs to be exposed.

I hope this trend in stage comes attached to an artistic honesty about the deep yawning hollow that we feel with this world we have inherited. Because it could easily be the last lie, and not the first truth of the glorious beauty of the human body, the source from which our sense of life comes, and life itself. The beauty of the body, exposed, can remind us of how everything else we do must come from it, and return to it. It is a sun to which our eyes turn, and a focus that pushes aside the ornaments we often use to clutter it.

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