Category:
Theater and Stage

Stripper Unsexy?

Source: Nanaimo Daily News (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada)14 Sep 1957, Sat Page 2



Posted By: Paul - Tue May 25, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Theater and Stage, Lawsuits, Sex Symbols, 1950s

Isotopia—an atomic pantomime

In 1950, Muriel Howorth, who was a great believer in the benefits of atomic energy, wrote and staged a ballet/pantomime about the atom. It was titled Isotopia: An Exposition on Atomic Structure. This description from Time magazine, Oct 30, 1950:

Last week in Aldwych's Waldorf Hotel, Mrs. Howorth's high-minded Atomic Energy Association of Great Britain (membership: 300) celebrated its second anniversary with an atomic pantomime called Isotopia.

Before a select audience of 250 rapt ladies and a dozen faintly bored gentlemen, some 13 bosomy A.E. Associates in flowing evening gowns gyrated gracefully about a stage in earnest imitation of atomic forces at work. An ample electron in black lace wound her way around two matrons labeled "proton" and "neutron" while an elderly ginger-haired Geiger counter clicked out their radioactive effect on a pretty girl named Agriculture. At a climactic moment, a Mrs. Monica Davial raced across the stage in spirited representation of a rat eating radioactive cheese.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any pictures of the event. But you can read the entire pantomime over at atomicgardening.com.

Muriel Howorth, founder of the Atomic Energy Association of Great Britain

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Theater and Stage, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1950s

The Evil Eye

I wish audiovisual recordings had been available in 1898 to capture this play.



Source of quote.









Posted By: Paul - Mon Mar 15, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Theater and Stage, Special Effects, Nineteenth Century

Kirby’s Flying Ballet



This is the apparatus that famously caused Mary Martin to fly as Peter Pan.

Wikipedia page for Peter Foy.





Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 18, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Theater and Stage, Special Effects, 1950s, 1960s

Le Bellybutton

A forgotten moment in post-HAIR theater.

'Nudie' musicals presented nudity onstage in a way that said 'sex is beautiful and natural and fun and there's no need to be afraid of it'. Unlike XXX theatre, Peep shows, and sex clubs, sex in these musicals was always simulated, never real. These musicals validated the sexual revolution happening outside with shows like Hair, Oh! Calcutta!, Stag Movie, Let My People Come, Le Bellybutton.




Article source.







More photos here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 07, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Regionalism, Sexuality, Theater and Stage, 1970s

250 Times I Saw a Play

Keith Odo Newman, whom the Guardian has described as "a homosexual Austrian psychoanalyst," authored 250 Times I Saw A Play, which was published in 1944. As the title suggests, it describes his experience of watching a play 250 times. The play was Flare Path by Terence Rattigan.



The backstory here is that Newman was Rattigan's doctor. According to TactNYC.org:

When World War II broke out, Rattigan, who was seeing a bizarrely charismatic psychiatrist named Dr. Keith Newman, decided, with the encouragement of his doctor, to enlist with the RAF. Despite the fact that he wasn’t at all mechanically inclined and was a social snob, Rattigan flourished in the egalitarian RAF, mastering the technical requirements and becoming an air gunner wireless operator (like Dusty Miller in Flare Path). It was while he was serving active duty that he wrote Flare Path and its creation seemed to dissolve the writer’s block under which Rattigan was suffering.

For some reason, Rattigan asked Newman to personally direct the performance of the lead actor in the play, Jack Watling, and Newman proceeded to become obsessed with Watling. Which is why, I assume, Newman ended up watching the play 250 times. Rattigan's biographer, Geoffrey Wansell, offers more details:

During rehearsals, which took place at the Apollo, Newman said nothing. 'He just sat there in the stalls, silent', according to Watling. 'But just before the play opened in Oxford, where I was to stay with him in his flat at Number 36 Holywell, he took me to the Lake District for three days of what he called intensive voice training.' The psychiatrist had devised a set of vocal exercises, which he insisted he practised for hours at a time. 'It was unbelievable,' Watling recalled. 'He took over my life completely.'...
At this stage Newman had not made a homosexual pass at Watling. That came later. Newman simply frightened him beyond words. 'I couldn't do anything without asking his permission. I was heterosexual then, and I am now, but Newman pretty much gave me a nervous breakdown. I couldn't cope with him.' Why Newman had this power, or why people submitted to him, Watling is just as unable to explain now as he was then.

After completing his odd book, Newman sent the manuscript to George Bernard Shaw, who wrote back with a few of his thoughts about it. Shaw's comments weren't very complimentary, but Newman nevertheless included a facsimile of them at the front of the book. Shaw wrote:

I don't know what to say about this book. The experience on which it is founded is so extraordinary, that an honest record of it should be preserved. But it would have driven me mad; and I am not sure that the author came out of it without a slight derangement.

Sure enough, Newman was subsequently certified insane and died in a mental institution.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 02, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Theater and Stage, Books, 1940s

Revolt of the Beavers

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Revolt of the Beavers was a children's play put on by the Federal Theater Project by Oscar Saul and Louis Lantz. One critic described the play as "Marxism a la Mother Goose".[1] The show ran at the Adelphi Theatre in New York City from May 20, 1937, to June 19 of that year.[2] Jules Dassin [3] and John Randolph [4] were among the play's cast. The play involved a worker beaver named Oakleaf, who leads a revolt against "The Chief" Beaver who was exploiting the workers. Though the play was a fantasy fable intended for children, it was attacked by the HUAC for promoting Communist ideals.


Wikipedia page (source of quote).

More photos here.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 22, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Politics, Theater and Stage, 1930s

Big Boot Dance

The performer is. Harry Relph, aka Little Tich. The performance was filmed at the 1900 Paris Exposition.

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 04, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: ShowBiz, Theater and Stage, Vaudeville, Shoes, 1900s

Bathtubs Over Broadway

A new documentary about "industrial musicals" is just hitting selected theaters.

The film's homepage.

The book that served as the source.




Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 27, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Theater and Stage, Industry, Factories and Manufacturing, Outsider Art, Surrealism, Twentieth Century

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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