Flesh warning flashes from the stage

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The Independent Online
SINGAPORE (Reuter) - A British theatre troupe performing a bawdy comic drama in straightlaced Singapore will flash a red light when a nude appears on stage so bashful members of the audience can close their eyes.

A bell will ring when the 'flash of flesh' is over, signalling it is safe to resume watching, the Singapore Repertory Theatre, which brought out the theatre group, said yesterday.

The self-censorship system was the idea of Tony Petito, artistic director of the Singapore Repertory Theatre, who wanted to make sure no one would be offended. There has been no government involvement in trying to censor the show.

'The red light was introduced for Singapore because of the issue here about what level people could be exposed to as far as nudity went, whereas in the UK there was no problem with it,' Mr Petito said.

'It's very innocent nudity: we're just talking about a couple of bare bottoms,' he said.

The Lu Man Theatre, based in the UK, will perform The Magic Fundoshi, three short plays written in the Japanese kyogen tradition, over the next six days.

Singaporean authorities say they want art and entertainment to flourish, but do not want it to corrupt basic values.

Last year Singapore allowed its first sexually explicit musical, The New Rocky Horror Show, about a transvestite scientist trying to create an ideal man.