Supreme Court

Strippers v. the Supreme Court: Live Nude Theater!

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Is it constitutional to require strippers to wear pasties and G-strings?

In 1991's Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc, the Supreme Court ruled that go-go dancers in Indiana could indeed be compelled to cover up their naughty bits. The decision upholding such bans is the subject of the provocative—and nudity-filled!—play Arguendo.

"Justices start off in swivel chairs just like the real justices," explains Arguendo's director John Collins. "Then those chairs are rolling all around the stage, the podium rolls around the stage, and eventually some actual, total, nudity gets involved in the argument as well." The play's text is faithful to Barnes' oral arguments. "What you hear in Arguendo is exactly what you would have heard in the courtroom," says Collins.

The lobby of Washington D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre hosts an interactive exhibit that allows the audience to engage the facts of the case and arrive at its own conclusion. 

"I hope what you're left with is that it's not the easiest case in the world," says Collins. "There are interesting questions on both sides of it."

Collins spoke with Reason TV about the unique power of live performance, Arguendo's experimental staging, and the irony that theaters, unlike strip clubs, are generally exempted from bans on public nudity.

About 2 minutes.

Produced by Joshua Swain and narrated by Nick Gillespie.

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