Bodies on the Beach

an original naturist one-act play

Characters:
ANYBODY
EVERYBODY

NOBODY
SOMEBODY

(The stage is one long beach, divided into halves marked by a low fence of flimsy plastic and the signs: “NUDE BEACH” on one side and “NUDITY PROHIBITED” on the other. Nothing further distinguishes one half of the beach from the other. ANYBODY, NOBODY, and EVERYBODY, wearing swimming costumes, are reclining on the textile half of the stage. Each has a towel and a beachbag, at least. They are at the beach as individuals who do not seem to know each other. As the action begins, and during the first seven lines of dialogue, SOMEBODY enters the beach on the textile side, looking for the nude side. He/she sees the sign, and makes her/his way slowly toward the nude side, stopping from time to time to look at the others as if silently asking them why they’re not on the other side. The others continue their dialogue, watching with poorly disguised interest as SOMEBODY passes by.) 

EVERYBODY (to ANYBODY): Hey. Did you see that sign? That’s a nekkid beach, right over there. I can’t believe anybody would get nekkid in public like that.
ANYBODY: I most certainly would not. I mean, get naked. That’s perverted.
EVERYBODY: Yeah. Crazy, right? Nobody I know would do something like that.
NOBODY (overhearing): I would not! Why does everybody say that, anyway?
EVERYBODY: Well, I mean, would anybody in their right mind take off their clothes in public?
NOBODY: Where everybody can see?
ANYBODY: (repeating) I most certainly would not. I mean, everybody might think I would, but I wouldn’t. No way. Nobody would.
NOBODY (loudly, pointing across the beach): Somebody already did!

(SOMEBODY has stepped over the low fence to the nude side and is beginning to undress. The others pretend not to see–even as they are watching–while they continue the dialogue below. SOMEBODY, meanwhile, stretches out on the sand with a book.)

ANYBODY: Don’t look. Exhibitionist. Just wants attention.
NOBODY: (loudly) Won’t somebody do something?
ANYBODY: Quiet down. That’s somebody over there. Over here, everybody’s in their right mind.
EVERYBODY: I’ll say. (speaking loudly) Somebody over there doesn’t have any shame. 

(SOMEBODY reacts, looking across the beach to the others, and rolls over to face away from them.)
 
ANYBODY: Probably an exhibitionist. 
NOBODY: Anybody can see that.
ANYBODY: Everybody knows it’s a bad idea.
EVERYBODY: I’ll say. A bad idea, getting your junk out for anybody to see.

(SOMEBODY, frustrated, gets up and approaches the fence.) 

SOMEBODY: Hey, it’s not about what you see or don’t see. You don’t see with your skin, do you? It’s about feeling: your skin feeling the waves, the sand, the sun, all over. Feeling free and natural. You should try it!
EVERYBODY (averting eyes): Just stay over there. Somebody could be offended.
SOMEBODY: You’re right. I’m offended that you said I have “junk”! I don’t have junk,  I have a body.
ANYBODY: Everybody’s offended by something, but nobody’s going to say you can’t do as you please as long as you don’t bother us.
NOBODY (matter-of-factly): You can’t do as you please as long as you don’t bother us.
SOMEBODY: What? That doesn’t even make any sense! Look, I’m the one who should be bothered by you acting as if… as if wearing little squares of cloth is appropriate on a hot beach. I’m the one who should be offended by your misconceptions and your rush to judgment. Has anybody said that I’m perverted? Has anybody said I’m an exhibitionist? Why, yes. Yes, you have.
ANYBODY: Did I say that? Well, I must have been sure about it, then.
EVERYBODY: Somebody might think you could actually enjoy running around nekkid on the beach… swimming, running around…nekkid… (trails off)
SOMEBODY: You and me, you, all of us: we’re all just bodies, right? Everybody’s unique, nobody’s the same, and anybody’s going to have different sizes, shapes, and colors, but we’re all just bodies. 
NOBODY: I’d rather die than have everybody see me naked!
SOMEBODY: I already said, it’s not about what you see or don’t see, it’s about…ah, forget it.

(SOMEBODY walks away, to the furthest possible point on the nude half of the beach. Silence onstage for several beats.)

EVERYBODY: So… We’re all just bodies… (clearing throat) Would anybody like to go over there?
ANYBODY: I most certainly would not.
EVERYBODY: Well I think somebody over there’s got a good point. Nobody’s going to guess there’s any harm in it.
NOBODY (pondering): I guess there’s no harm in it…
EVERYBODY: I’m glad you agree!

(EVERYBODY gathers his/her things, stands up and steps over the fence to the nude side.)

NOBODY (unaware, continuing in thought): Oh…but I’d rather die than have everybody see me naked!
ANYBODY (seeing that EVERYBODY has already crossed and is disrobing): But everybody’s already naked!
NOBODY: What? (looks across, then looks away) That’s it. Everybody’s gone crazy.
ANYBODY: Everybody over there.

(EVERYBODY has approached SOMEBODY. They greet warmly and begin a game – volley, handball, Frisbee: director’s discretion. NOBODY, meanwhile, stands up and begins pacing back and forth, looking around anxiously.)

ANYBODY: But nobody over here has gone crazy. I most certainly would not. Nobody over here is shameless. (getting louder) Nobody over here has thrown in the towel and dropped the trou. Nobody over here has lost all inhibition, right down to the last thread of decency! I most certainly would not! (sputtering) Nobody over here has gone stark-raving stark-naked buck-naked bonkers!
NOBODY (stops pacing): I’m afraid it’s true! Anybody can read me like a book! But no… No, I’m not afraid anymore. I feel so transparent! What difference does it make if everybody sees me in the nude? We’re all just bodies!

(NOBODY takes his/her things, steps over the fence, disrobes, and joins the game to the welcome of EVERYBODY and SOMEBODY. ANYBODY looks on, astonished, then looks away, trying to ignore the growing whoops and shouts from the game on the other side of the fence. After a minute or so, SOMEBODY approaches the fence again while EVERYBODY and NOBODY continue the game.)

SOMEBODY (addressing ANYBODY, who listens without looking): Hey! We’re trying to set up teams of two over here, and we’re missing a body. Anybody will do! (waits a few beats) Would anybody care to help us out, over here?

(Receiving no answer, SOMEBODY gives up and returns to the game.)

ANYBODY (still not looking, and with a derisive but forced laugh): That’s the last straw. That’s the last little stitch of decorum, isn’t it? I most certainly… would…

(ANYBODY takes a moment to process this change of heart. Then she/he stands, taking his/her belongings, and steps over the fence. Her/his foot catches, and the fence falls down. ANYBODY sees this, considers fixing it, then shrugs. ANYBODY disrobes. The others have not stopped the game.)

ANYBODY (joining the game): Somebody need another body?

(The game continues onstage until the curtain drops or the actors take their bows.)

The End

2 thoughts on “Bodies on the Beach

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