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Forbidden to record the naked actor: a compromised leak confronts Broadway with the mobiles of its audience


A theater will film its spectators after the publication on networks of several videos, taken without permission, of the nude of actor Jesse Williams ('Grey's Anatomy') in a new production

The same week that the Broadway play

Take Me Out,

by Richard Greenberg, received four nominations for the Tony Awards, the awards of the American theater, a leak has become the center of the conversation: that of the full nude of the leading actor, Jesse Williams, famous for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the series

Grey's Anatomy

, at a point in the drama that was captured on an audience member's cell phone.

Although the interpreter himself, who is one of the nominees, has stated this week that he feels indifferent to the fact that his nude could cause a stir ("They have made a scandal of it, but it is a body. You see it and it doesn't matter," he said on Monday to his time on host Andy Cohen's show on the NBCUniversal Bravo network), the viralization of the video, about which Williams has not spoken, has prompted the producer, Second Stage Theater, to take additional security measures during the performance, by installing cameras with an infrared system capable of detecting mobile activity, as well as turning and


towards viewers to facilitate their identification.

The measure is in addition to those that the theater had previously implemented, such as the obligation to introduce switched-off mobile phones in cases with a magnetic padlock that is deactivated upon exit, a technique that has been used for some time in some comedy or concert performances, to even though some viewers clearly manage to open the cases.

According to the production director, Peter Dean, told

The New York Times,

those responsible for

Take Me Out

The protocol to be followed in the event that the cameras detect that someone in the public is using their mobile is discussed: "We do not yet know if we will stop the function or ask a security officer to expel the person," he explained, influencing in which the viewer in question would be asked to delete the material from his file and, in addition, they would call the New York police if necessary.

This image released by Polk & Co. shows Jesse Williams during a performance of the Broadway revival of the baseball-themed "Take Me Out," in New York.

(Joan Marcus/Polk & Co., via AP)Joan Marcus (AP)

For the producer and cultural manager Fernando de Luis-Orueta, from La Tropa Produce, "the problem of coerciveness against the use of mobile phones has short legs."

“It is unrealistic that this is the general solution for live shows, not only because it is expensive.

I think it is a little more pleasant and subtle that the head of the room or the ushers do that work, ”he says, consulted by ICON.

The producer gives as an example the situation experienced in theaters after the outbreak of the coronavirus: “In general, the behavior of the spectators has been sensational with the use of the mask.

All of us who have gone to the theater in this time of pandemic have seen an usher approach someone to put on the mask, without much problem.

The same, with the use of the mobile,

Take Me Out

is a 2002 play about a baseball player who decides to come out as gay.

Most of the plot takes place in the locker room of his team, throughout an entire season, showing the tensions, homophobia or support he experiences among his motley set of teammates, as well as racism.

The version starring Williams is not the first to be performed on Broadway: it was already done in 2003 with actor Daniel Sunjata, of whom, despite the much lower quality of the cameras on mobile phones at the time, a nude was also leaked.

Both the production company and the theatrical performers union, Actors' Equity Association, have condemned the recording.

“Actors usually accept to open up on stage to tell difficult and uncomfortable stories.

That does not mean that such moments of vulnerability can be shared en masse," said President Kate Shindle.

“Taking nude photos of someone without their consent is highly objectionable and can lead to serious legal consequences,” she has said for her part Second Stage Theater.

The diffusion dilemma

In the absence of knowing whether the publicity of Jesse Williams's nude, coupled with previous rave reviews and Tony Award recognition, is having an impact on ticket sales for

Take Me Out

(which began running last April and has been extended until June 11), De Luis-Orueta acknowledges to ICON that the relationship between the theatrical world and mobile phones is ambiguous.

“We have had problems for many years, there are actors who face very desperate situations that force them to cut the performance, or that make them lose concentration and forget the text.

But we are not interested in restricting mobiles either.

Many people share photos of the applause or the curtain on social networks, and that helps us a lot when it comes to promoting, so it is true that there is that tension, ”he reflects.

This same week, the Argentine actor Ricardo Darín interrupted the premiere of his work

Scenes from conjugal life

at the Teatro del Soho Caixabank in Malaga shouting “Enough with mobiles!”, a fact that caused him to leave the stage and stop for half a minute.

Other interpreters who have had famous clashes with annoying spectators who did not turn off the sound of their mobiles have been Lola Herrera, Josep Maria Pou or the Italian comedian Leo Bassi, who snatched and trampled on the phone of a member of an audience for speaking during his show , although later he had to pay 400 euros.

“In the cinema it is very annoying because of the light on the screen, but the projection does not stop.

In the theater we talk about something else.

Recently, I myself was watching a function that was about to go to waste due to a conversation with a mobile”, says Luis-Orueta.

The recording of a nude, however, has other dimensions.

In 2008, an image of Daniel Radcliffe, protagonist of the

Harry Potter

saga, was also released , naked in the play


, which sparked the wrath of author Peter Shaffer.

Technician Rachel Juozapaitis accused the image thief of "turning art into pornography."

The work, however, was a huge success and was also postponed after, for weeks, the mere news of Radcliffe's nude (then 19 years old) achieved a gigantic impact in the press.

“Mobile phones are obviously already an inseparable part of our lives.

They are here to stay and it is absurd to fight against that”, says producer Fernando de Luis-Orueta.

“It is a very difficult challenge, because in the end it is a matter of education and respect, awareness, that the spectators understand that what is happening in front of them is an ephemeral art.

But I think that raising awareness will always be the best option.”

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-05-16

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