Originally presented at the Fringe in 2019, the nudist comedy Disrobed is returning to the Fest this year in al its nakedness. Described as a Meet the Parents with extra nudity, it’s a comedy in which inhibitions can’t help but go out the window.
Troy Peterson, who starred in the virtual version of the show, is delighted to return for this production as star, director and producer. He was kind enough to take time out to talk to ArtsBeat LA about it.
Tell us a bit about the show and what makes it appropriate for the Fringe.
Disrobed is that rare Fringe show in that it’s a Hollywood Fringe Revival. This take on Meet The Parents with a nudist twist premiered at Hollywood Fringe in 2019 and it’s exciting to be bringing it back. An immersive screwball comedy, where the audience has to be as naked as the cast, is the perfect fit for a festival that’s dedicated to creating safe environments to spotlight unique points of view, undiscovered talent, and unique experiences like nothing else.
How do audiences react to the nudity? Including their participation?
The first reaction from the audience members is often “I can’t do that!” but once they’re sitting on a chair just watching actors drop one-liners and juggling oranges, they feel like any other spectator at a show. Some audience members have found it to be a revelatory experience where being nude with other audience members has allowed them to break down barriers to self-acceptance and self-love they’ve built up. Others forget they’re nude because they’re so invested in the drama between the textile fiance and the nudist fiancee. Heck, I remember one patron who said they couldn’t physically see the show but they loved hearing all the snappy patter. So that should make the people seated behind a giant pole feel good.
You’ve been involved in this show before, right? Any other Fringe experiences?
I’ve participated in several shows at Fringe, starting with Jamba Juice: The Musical in 2019 but I was only an audience member for the original run [of Disrobed]. I loved the play so much I finagled my way into doing the virtual version in 2021 that played all over the world and won a couple of awards here and there. It’s so exciting to be bringing this play back to its original home and to get to be in it!
How are you managing the rapid fire pace of load-in/load out at the Fringe?
We’ll see how load-in and load-out works when the day comes. On one hand, we have a sofa to move and a prop car that often breaks down. On the other hand, we don’t have to worry about costumes for the most part!
What can newbies expect when they come to see the show?
Newbies can expect a warm (both literally and figuratively) and welcoming environment to try their first time at a nudist/naturist event. You’ll be directed into a room to change and to drop off your stuff which will be monitored during the show. No phones, bags, or jackets will be allowed in the auditorium, only a towel, shoes, and maybe a COVID mask after the clothing optional preview. We’ll have security to keep you safe and be responsive to any concerns so just relax, sit back, and enjoy some classic sitcom-style humor.
Since the Fringe is a collaborative effort, what other shows are on your radar?
There’s so many other great shows at Fringe this year, it’s hard to pick a few. I have to shout out my sketch show Daddy Issues where me and some of my closest comedians-I-hope-are-my-friends are going to spend an hour sketching/singing/improving about masculinity and our need for parental approval. I’m also super pumped for the sketch show Bugs; the one-person show Mom, Can You Pause the TV?; and the two-person show The Sentence, which are all by fellow alums and students of USC. Fight On! Oh, I also have to say I’m very excited for Jackie and Stuck because I’m obsessed with the Kennedys and Disneyland dark ride.
Disrobed plays June 1-24 at Studio/Stage (main space), 520 N. Western Ave. PLEASE NOTE: Aside from the clothing-optional preview on June 1st, audiences will be required to be naked as well. Show dates and times and ticketing information can be found on the Fringe site.