Wednesday, June 22, 2016

(Privileged) Naked Boys Singing

Ottawa's Toto Too Theatre group left out the "community" in community theatre when they produced Naked Boys Singing. The show stars seven Ottawans of diverse backgrounds and levels of talent, but this prose is not a theatre critique; it's a social critique.


Full disclosure, I inquired about the audition process when it happened in March. I withdrew after learning there was no compensation or honorarium for the performers whatsoever. Instead, any profits the show made would be donated to a partner charity.

Bullshit.

There will have been a total of 12 shows with each cast member appearing in full nudity at least twice per show. The show also required weeks of unpaid practice sessions. I'm all about body positivity and free expression, but Toto Too's Naked Boys Singing production was cast with financial means assumed.

Production again assumed financial means by offering no sliding-scale or pay-what-you-can tickets. Tickets are $24-30 (discount applied to seniors and students).

The advertising campaign also left much to be desired. I would have run screaming from the photoshoot, but part of my personal artistry is having tight control of my image. The problem isn't personal taste; it's how alienating the campaign was to queer women in particular. When seven naked dudes holding meat tenderizers is the best poster, you may have a problem. For a show that purposefully eschews lewdness, I can't understand why the advertising wasn't more appropriate.


(If you read through the whole slideshow, you may have noticed "queer" wasn't written once...)

The director and production team lost their way curating a show for and by middle-class gay men. Needless to say, I don't feel the need to see a show fueled by ego and privilege.


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