Sunday, January 18, 2015

Andrew Schneider's Shirtlessness: 9 Theories

Andrew Schneider's show YOUARENOWHERE has closed but we hope it gets a second life in New York.  I've also maybe promised most of the United Kingdom that it would probably tour there even though I have no power to make that happen.  But I'm confident it will. 

Anyway....Schneider performs the show without a shirt on.  This is not a spoiler.  But I don't wish to spoil anything.  So only read this if you are really invested in the mystery of shirtlessness AND have seen the show.

I was left to wonder why he is shirtless in the show when he's wearing pants with a belt on (not pajamas, or leisure wear, or something casual, because he is wearing a belt--I'm really fixated on the belt).  There has to be a narrative reason for it.  But I have been so overwhelmed by the show whilst seeing the show that I could not process the reasons for it when I saw it.  So I was left to wonder in the aftermath and wildly speculate. I've got some theories ranging from the "plausible" to the ridiculous.  Here are 9 theories why Andrew Schneider is shirtless in this show:

1)  For technology reasons he needed the wires and controls to be on his skin and wearing a shirt interfered with the signals for the controls.  He could have worn a wifebeater as a compromise but who wears a wifebeater on stage?  No one except Stanley Kowalski.  That's not the tone he was setting, so he chose shirtlessness.

2)  Without a shirt on, he can make the audience feel like he's not hiding anything up his sleeves.  Which is a lie because he wears sleeves of technology which he uses to control the show.  So this is probably not it but I like the idea of him pretending to be "honest" with the audience in this way.

3)  By being shirtless he has entered into a intimacy contract with the audience.  What is that?  I don't know I made it up.  Frankly it sounds kind of gross.  But in my fake definition it's a subconscious way to lull the audience into trusting him in a show which depends upon such trust.  A shirtless man can be trusted more than a shirtful man.  This is also probably a lie.  When have you ever trusted a shirtless man walking down the street?  Never.

4)  He convinced his gym to give him a free membership if he performed shirtless and demonstrated his fitness to his audience.  He did this very well.  If I was his gym I would put him on a poster.

5)  Maybe he sweats a lot and this is a low-budget project and they didn't have the laundry budget to wash a lot of shirts so he's keeping costs down by going shirtless.  Similarly if he didn't want to drip anything on the costumes he HAD to go shirtless for further laundry reasons.

6)  He spent the laundry budget on a gym membership.

7)  He spent the laundry budget on stunt CDs.

8)  His character required some sort of medical treatment and they removed his shirt.  This one is so boring but maybe the only one even close to plausible.  But Lindsay thought this was stupid because he was still wearing pants.  But it's my ludicrous theory and I'm sticking with it.

9) Allergies.  He's allergic to shirts.  I've never seen him wear one.

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