While there is part nakedness in this play, it is not graphic. The behaviour of the characters, is, however, overt. This play is raw and funny. And both these words are useful for holding at bay, the full meaning of this play. In trying to express the feelings this play invoked, I find myself, in polite company using phrases such as ‘to the bone’, and admitting both laughter and tears, often simultaneously.
But in searching for a way to describe the meaning I found in the play, I, oddly, find myself looking at the BBC production, “Being Human”. Those who are familiar, will know that this series deals with the trials of a vampire, ghost, and two werewolves to become a part of human society. The angst, anger, graphic violence, and subterfuges deal with what it means for humans to become human through that timeworn technique sometimes called a fairy story.
“Often I Find that I am Naked” is not a fairy story. It does not use some foreign other to hold our attention and define our allegiance, while we avoid reflecting whether we might be more like the wicked stepmother than the forlorn princess. “Often I find that I am Naked” is a reflection of the spiritual malaise that has settled across our modern society, in the form of sexual gratification without love. This wasn’t a play glorifying the sexual revolution. It was a play that forced the audience to watch the self-denigration of a successful career woman, through sex. It made me feel a little disgusted and more than a little ashamed. Right here, in those feeling provoked by the play, I believe, “Often I Find I Am Naked” has its success. For, during my own life, it has not been unusual to meet people struggling in this same way, and the state of mind that leads to the self-denigrating behaviour, touches, I suspect, nearly all of us.
Yet “Often I Find that I Am Naked” is satirically comical. Laughter from the audience, routinely punctuated this demonstration of the trials of the main character. Jezebel’s conscience, in the form of a piano player, is quite hilarious. Sometimes that laughter was provoked while the character’s behaviour often wrenched the heart and a tear from the eye.
It was great relief to be ‘let off the emotional hook’ at the close of the play. Shakespeare might not have been so kind. It is hard to say, “I enjoyed this play”, my appreciation for it, and its actors, ran much deeper.