'The Tempest' performed in Brooklyn by all-female, nude, cast

PROSPECT PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- He's been dead 400 years, but William Shakespeare is sparking controversy.

"The Tempest" is being performed in Brooklyn by an all-female cast, in the nude.

It starts out, well, kind of normal.

And then a cymbal crashes, and the spirits in the Torn Out Theater Company's production of "The Tempest" are wearing nothing but body make-up.

Soon, just about everyone in the cast, in the middle of Prospect Park, is wearing only shoes.

Some parents seemed to try and make sure their kids didn't notice, but some kids sure did notice.

Gina Marie Russell played the mischievous vengeful "Prospero".

"It's nice to have people come and see women naked in a non-sexualized, non-threatening way," Russell said.

The cast, in a play with mostly male rolls, is all female.

"Since we wanted to talk about body freedom and nudity as empowerment, that's an issue that matters for everyone," said Alice Motollo, consulting director.

All of the nudity and unused costumes are startling and striking for only about 10 minutes.

And then the show does what good theater always does, it makes you forget.

"You get used to it and the shock lessens and then you are seeing it for what it actually is which is, just like you said, actors telling a story," said Pitr Strait, the director.

You won't see this in Des Moines or Cleveland, but this is New York. Some noticed and moved on. Some children saw it and it seemed like the perfect moment for some real communication and that just can't be a bad thing. It's maybe what art is supposed to do. Many there seemed to appreciate that.
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.