The Bold Reach of Teatro Oficina

Teatro Oficina translates to Theater Workshop. Founded in 1958 in Sao Paulo, it is one of the most important theater companies in Brazil. The photographs in this piece are representative of their more uninhibited productions.

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Bold Play Expands Social Parameters in N.Y.

From:

By: Aaron Mattocks

In 2000 at the Kitchen, choreographer John Jasperse premiered Fort Blossom, which features a lengthy nude male duet that confronts the gaze of the audience in surprising ways. In a rare look back, Jasperse will reinvestigate the work at New York Live Arts from May 9 – 12, by creating an expanded version: Fort Blossom revisited (2000/2012). Aaron Mattocks met with him to discuss the revival.

John Jasperse’s Fort Blossom revisited (2000/2012). Photo by Lindsey Browning

Interview:

Aaron Mattocks (Rail): What about Fort Blossom made you want to look at it again?

John Jasperse: This piece has been magical for me, both the first time around and this time, for very different reasons. The New York dancer of my era was trying to propose a mythical, neutral body. I think that’s somewhat the legacy of a certain generation of American postmodernism: this aspiration towards neutrality. Everybody always knew that it was only theoretical, and there was this presence of ambivalent sexuality that was impossible to ignore. I wanted to make this critique about what I saw as an ultimately pornographic vision of the body that most people brought to dance without ever having to take any responsibility for it. I didn’t want to be in this form where people go because they want to see young, fit, tight bodies and say, “They have a nice ass,” and feel validated and not threatened in that space because it’s art. Rail: The dance is shocking to me. Still.

Jasperse: In what way?

Rail: In the way that I, as a viewer, have to confront all of these issues about the male body.

Jasperse: The project seems so simple. It’s men, women, clothed, naked, red, beige. All of the contrasts are so basic, it really dupes you into feeling like, “Oh, I get it. I know what this is.” And then the moment that you get into it, it manifests itself as being much more confusing. Photo by Maria Anguera de Sojo

Somebody described it as having this animal kind of energy, because, well, the dog doesn’t have self-consciousness. The dog wants to eat the hamburger and hump your leg. Shame doesn’t exist for the dog. It’s a human experience. So if you’re thinking about the piece—the sexualized vision of it—can you get to a certain point where you say, “Whatever, I’m done thinking about it like that”? Not because you have to push it away, but because you’ve allowed yourself to be in that space, and now it’s passed and you see it in another way. Some people are going to be like, “Assholes—hot,” and some people are going to be like, “Assholes—gross.” It draws us into examining how those things function within us, and the potential of disarming that. Of becoming a little more fluid.

Rail: In other words, you’ve removed the filter of self-consciousness in the choreography, and it’s up to us to meet you there. You’ve laid the terrain: this is what bodies are without shame. And then we have to negotiate where we run up against ourselves.

Jasperse: I can experience my body in a scientific, medical way, and I can experience it in a sexual way, and I can experience it imagining what it’s like in terms of being seen as a sculptural or aesthetic object. And there’s the sensorial. I don’t commit to any of them. If I feel like I’m getting stuck somewhere, I need to shift. Rail: So then my experience watching it is just passing through all of those states: seeing it as just a dance, seeing it as sometimes sexual, seeing it as clinical.

Jasperse: Yes. You were talking about having to confront your own sense of the piece. Well, I used to be in it. I approached it so differently because of who I am, and my own history, and my own challenges in conceiving of myself as an object of desire. But I’ve removed myself from it. And one could argue that I’ve removed myself because this body, at 48 years old, is no longer part of that potential. And I really don’t want to be involved in saying that. This felt like a good way of equalizing the space, and saying, “You all now own this, and this is your experience.” I’m really here in a different relationship to it. As a participant. Subscribe to Enlightened Male2000 by Email

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Penises in the Movies

We’ve see breasts and buttocks and even vaginas in the movies for some time now. Until recently the penis has been taboo. Who knows why. Movies meant for adult audiences should have a mature attitude toward the human body, both male and female. Perhaps we’re worried about the sensibilities of young teenage girls. Seeing a penis could very well ruin them for life. We certainly don’t want them to see what their male counterparts look like until they absolutely have to, when in reality most of these young girls are checking out male bodies online, this site for one. Or maybe we’re worried about homophobic men. Seeing a penis on the screen might anger him or turn him gay, or it might force him to tell his date that he’s disgusted, just to make sure she knows he isn’t queer.

The times they are a changin’. Penises have made their debut, and though they still tend to shock the moral and self-righteous, there are certainly times a penis on screen is appropriate and natural. Say for example when a guy gets out of bed to get dressed, or during a passionate love scene, or simply coming out of the shower to answer the phone.

Jason Biggs, in his new movie American Reunion, has happily joined the stars on screen that are getting naked in the movies when the scene calls for it. Jason discusses his roll in the following article by Jennifer Still on Digital Spy dot com.

Jason Biggs has joked that he was happy to show his penis on film before too many male actors jumped on the bandwagon.

The American Reunion star, whose character Jim appears fully nude in the new comedy, said that he felt it was important to appear in the scene himself rather than using a stand-in.

“That was me. That was all me. It’s funny, I guess I understand because there’s all kinds of movie magic, but we made sure that there’s a close up shot – and then we go to a wide shot. So that my face is in it with the penis,” Biggs explained in an interview with The Huffington Post.

“You see a full shot so that it’s clear, or more obvious, that it’s my penis. I remember in early cuts I kept telling the directors, ‘I have one note. You have to hold on to that shot longer so that people will know that’s my penis. Otherwise, what’s the point of me doing this?’ The plain truth is, that’s my penis.”

Biggs also discussed the fact that audiences may soon become desensitized to male nudity and will stop finding it funny.

“You know, between There’s Something About Mary and then Jason Segel – and, apparently, he’s doing it again; he just loves flumping his [penis], apparently – and now me and Michael Fassbender last year, yeah, I don’t know. Pretty soon people will become desensitized to it. But I’m glad I’m catching it on the early side, so people still have a little bit of shock,” he joked.

“The other thing is, even if people were like, ‘Eh, penis, whatever’, I think they’d still be shocked because it’s Jim’s penis. There’s something about doing it with a character that people have sort of come to know and love over the years. And they’ve come so close – his penis has gotten lots of play over the years – but they’ve never actually seen it.”

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