I’m often asked how the Natural Theatre performances go down with different cultures. Counting the Channel Islands as a separate entity, we’ve performed in the streets of nearly eighty countries.
With the help of our twenty five actors, I’m compiling a thirty second anecdote from every country we’ve visited.
Here is a selection from what I have received so far.
Russia: At a topping-out party for a new tower block we were asked to perform as our tottering Leopard Skin Tarts. The humorous effect was somewhat lost as it was hard to distinguish between our exaggerated spoof ladies and the real girlfriends and wives of the guests.
Canada: A security guard chased our naughty but nice Nudist characters out of a shopping centre shouting ‘We don’t allow faggots in here!’
Pakistan: If anyone came too near, our minders walloped them with big sticks. We had to persuade them that audience participation was welcomed.
America: Arriving at the national garden show in Ohio I thought our resident team had invented a new piece: static figures all in black staring crossly at the lurid flower displays. But it was a party of Amish who had somehow wandered in.
Japan: At the Osaka Green Expo a group of puzzled people were watching our garden gnomes sitting fishing round a little pond. After a bit, the audience all bowed and said ‘Merry Christmas!’
Croatia: One of our team badly burnt his bottom sunbathing on a naturist beach and then had to do our Nudes piece all evening in a tight flesh-coloured body suit. Result? Much painful chafing!
Israel: The Jerusalem authorities were unaware that we were also on in Jordon at the same time. However, when I picked up a newspaper in Tel Aviv, there was a big picture of a third Naturals team who were performing outside the Sacre Coeur in Paris.
China: We were dressed as bowler hatted city gents. A local jumped over a wall and cried ‘Good morning stereotypical gentlemen!
Trinidad: I got a bursary to work on the carnival. Two highlights: my trousers falling down around my ankles at passport control, and the lady who submitted a song to the village calypso competition entitled ‘The Sanitation of the Nation is an Abomination’.