If I was going to find a suitable place to work on a grant application to support the very first piece of work which seeks to explore “How we choose to reveal our bodies through life, performance and art?”, then the naturist resort of Vera Playa near Almeria could not be more perfect. In a few months, a group of artists will join me to create a piece of clothing optional theatre where we will be, at times at least, naked in form and artistry, and the participatory audience will be invited to reveal themselves, their bodies, their stories, their life and experiences. We will work together, with the help of some early investment for the r&d, to create a piece of work, a ‘happening’ where we all change through the process.
As part of my research I am doing two things – enjoying the holiday atmosphere and reading a series of essays by Osho which explore the split of the body and mind, the loss of unity which starts at birth when a child is one being, and which is “nurtured” into a sense of responsibility and position in life dividing the consciousness – the upper body – from the body which is so often hidden “bad” and is somehow “lower”.
We clothe our upper consciousness with smiles and openness, an ego and a persona, and we clothe our lower body in other ways to hide or show-off. They are divided. “So those who divide [us] are not ready for [us] to be at ease with [our] nakedness. And this is only a beginning because there are more nakednesses inside. If you are not ready to be naked and true to your body, then you cannot ever be true for other deeper layers. How can you be? If you cannot face your body’s nakedness, how can you face your naked consciousness?” For me some of Osho’s essays need a little reframing for today – excuse my changing the word ‘man’ to us, because all his work seems to be completely man/woman focused. However I am finding his provocations rich and rewarding for my future r&d,
But my other reflection is on the extraordinary openness and glory of this sunny beach. Every shape of body is comfortably resting, sunbathing or swimming. Every age from toddler to wise elder is playing, reading, or just soaking up the stillness. And there is a glorious array of colour across the beach – the only one I am a little worried about is the red & white striped over enthusiastic, under protected skin tone. Many languages, but predominently Spanish, drift across the sand – all in harmony under the sun. I hope across the naturist beaches of the UK (check out British Naturism for a great list) there are similar families, couples of all genders and sexual orientation, individuals and groups of all ages, bodies of all shapes – lived in and still reaching up to the sun (or their dad/mum’s arms in the surf).
I for one love the body jewellry and tattoos which add to the canvas – others don’t. I love the infinite variety in breast and penis shapes and sizes. Yes I notice, and feel joyous that all of us feel relaxed in our own way to be out in the sun.
One day, maybe, Revelation my new show will play on this beach. I am sure that, with BN’s help it will play to a naturist audience in the UK – hopefully in the sunshine.
I can’t wait to raise the money necessary to make this piece of theatre, and in the meantime (I’m on holiday) I can’t wait for a cool glass of wine, naked on the balcony shaded by the Hibiscus.