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‘The Full Monty’ preview

March 5, 2012
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Published in Metro

Despite common conception, “The Full Monty” is not a show about stripping.

“This show is about overcoming insecurities,” says Laura Marie Duncan. “It’s a comedy with a lot of heart, and frankly, a lot of depth.”

She would know: Duncan performed in the original Broadway production of the musical, and now returns to her alma mater, the Boston Conservatory, to direct it. She’s not tired of this story about six unemployed steel workers who decide to striptease to earn some quick cash.

“I don’t know that I would have wanted to direct it the week after we closed on Broadway, but that was a decade ago, so it feels wonderful to revisit it now,” she says.

Duncan draws on what she learned years ago – about pace, rhythm, and the way the show delivers comedy – but has created a production much different from the original.

“It’s like going back to my first kiss with a lot more experience,” she laughs.

In spite of the plot’s deeper meaning, the performers in “The Full Monty” still have to take off all their clothes in front of a live audience.

“Young people always have that initial response of ‘Yeah man, I’m ready for it, let’s do it,’ but I think the students are finding that it’s not so easy,” says Duncan. “The nudity causes different anxieties for different people, but in the same way that the characters learn to overcome that in the show, so does the cast.”

Half-naked is scarier than ‘The Full Monty’

“There are scenes where the characters are learning to disrobe, where they’re half undressed, that are even harder for the performers than the actual strip,” says Duncan. “Because the actual strip is lit in a very particular way.”

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