A Celebration in Acting

Broadway could also take a cue from Club Juana in that you rarely get to go to a theater that offers the pre-show treat of (nearly) naked ladies doing serpentine dances around lit poles, displaying athletic talents that make Nancy Kerrigan seem like Tiny Tim. One, dressed in a school-girlish outfit, even did acrobatics from a brass bar suspended from the ceiling. Anyone who thinks there’s no skill in this should get off her stuffed crust and try it. Most of us probably wouldn’t get any tips except, “Practice!”

This certainly was theatrical. But then the Shakespeare scenes got underway. First up, three dancers played the witches from “Macbeth.” In most productions the witches are depicted as wrinkled old bags who look like something you’d pull out of a clogged drain. The Club Juitches, who were wearing pointy black hats and little else, looked like they walked out of Playboy. Indeed, their production values were much higher than your typical old bag’s would be. Thank you, poetic license.

The acting wasn’t spectacular. Some lines were obscured and the young ladies seemed nervous about delivering them, which is kind of funny since they weren’t shy about dancing with their respective poles, which would be more intimidating for most of us than being asked to recite a few words. People who look like this should be able to do anything with confidence. In time, I’m sure, they all will be able to deliver their lines with the kind of poise you have when you’re the only one in the room with a gun. For now, though, there are three important points to remember:

Shakespeare is tough. I’ve never understood every word of a Shakespeare play even when it’s delivered in a conventional manner, so, so what?

These girls are primarily dancers, not actresses. If someone told me that in order to keep my job I had to do Ophelia’s mad scene once a week, I wouldn’t pick up any Tonys, either.

People think Andie McDowell can act and have given her parts in major motion pictures. So it must be a relative thing.

Also, Shakespeare was supposed to be a big genius, but even he didn’t think, “How about, between scenes, we get the actresses to dance nude?” which is exactly what these girls did, going back to the same gyrations they were doing before the play began and providing a delightful break in the action.

The dancing didn’t last too long, however, as there was another part of the show to do, one they seemed to have a little more fun with: the dramatization of their struggles over this goofy local imbroglio. Here they got to say lines that were a little easier than Ye Olde Englishe, lines like, “Beauty is God’s handwriting,” and “Looking at a nipple is no different than looking at a nose. It can’t hurt you, you, you or you!” and they’ve got a pointy point there. Beauty, like freedom and other gifts, should be celebrated. With everything else Americans are facing these days, a few pretty girls taking it off at a bar should be cause for delight, not derision. We’ve spent the past few months bombing the beards off a regime that liked to cover up women like corpses. How nice it is, in comparison, to see them proudly dancing around like, well, like free and beautiful girls.

The whole thing wrapped up to the tune of Jimmy Hendrix’ “The Star Spangled Banner” and was right on par with the current mood of patriotism. I’m sure a lot of people felt like raising a flag, or whatever else came in handy. I stumbled away from my night out at the theater, culturally enriched and impressed over the way this ordinance had spurred on such creativity. We’re glad to know that in the end, the attempt to ban and prohibit was much ado about nothing.

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