Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hair


Last night I went to see “Hair” in Central Park. What an awesome show! I’ve been a big fan of the music for years, but I knew it solely through Milos Foreman’s 1979 movie version, having never seen the stage show. I never understood why people didn’t like the movie better.

But now I do. The stage production is an entirely different show! The movie adds layers and layers of plot that don’t exist on stage, and it switched around the songs, giving well-known numbers to different characters and taking them out of context. And it altered the ending significantly.

So, anyway, last night’s show was great. During the number “Hair,” the cast streamed into the audience and one dancer bent over my seat to let her hair cascade onto my head -- which is so obviously and completely bald. Funny! (Believe me, I was aware of the superficial irony of my enthusiastic presence at this show.)

Another cast member gave me a flower, which I wore behind my ear. And at the end, a good portion of us in the audience got up on the stage and danced to “Let the Sun Shine In” and “Hair.” Very fun.

But also very touching -- because during the production you can’t help but reflect on the fact that we’ve learned so little over the decades since the 1960s. Here we are again, basically in the same position. As Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater’s artistic director, wrote in the program:

“There’s a tragic sensibility at the root of ‘HAIR,’ a deep awareness of the gap between our vision and our achievement, that makes this piece as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. Trapped once again in a war that we were tricked into by politicians, a war the nation has totally lost faith in, with no clear exit strategy and ineffectual resistance, HAIR resonates in 2008 more than we might wish.”

(Photo: Skull-shaped sticker, Sixth Avenue, Aug. 2008)

12 comments:

Pod said...

i cannae stand musicals...i guess that makes me some sort of freak...i would love to have seen you on stage though

Reya Mellicker said...

What a blast! Wish I'd been there, too!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

What a great post about "Hair" (despite your lack thereof). It's been years since I've seen it on stage, but have fond memories. And, if Pod doesn't like musicals - well, all I can say is that I'm very disappointed. ;-(

Barbara said...

I can't wait until next Tuesday when we get to see what you're talking about! The story line couldn't be more appropriate to today and the music still ROCKS! Thanks for the great report.

lettuce said...

does sound fun. i'd like to have seen you on stage AND with a flower behind your ear

Merle Sneed said...

What a great time.

d. chedwick said...

what Pod said I'm sort of like him in this. --I still attend though, with friends when they come bearing free tickets. There's always something good... so I go.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

sounds like a marvelous staging....and like lettuce I would have loved to have seen you dancing on the stage -
with flower and all that
long, straight, curly, fuzzy
snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
oily, greasy, fleecy, shining
gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
knotted, polka-dotted; Twisted, beaded, braided
powdered, flowered, and confettied
bangled, tangled, spangled and spaghettied HAIR!!!!

I'm quite fond of many musicals...

oskar's program notes most certainly resonate....

great post.

bulletholes said...

I was doing a post Tuesday and at the risk of blogging in your comments I am compelled to share the high points...
I'm no analyst, so cut me some slack.

"Watching the convention last night I was struck by the difference 40 years can make. 40 years ago the incumbent Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek or accept the nomination, then their best man was shot down in a hotel and then...well they damn near ran out of candidates.
This year, the party is all but split because they have two very good people that want the thorny job so badly.
And we are in danger of re-electing a proxy incumbent.

40 years ago Black Americans were still very much fighting for their rights, and were still afraid to enter a polling booth, or even to register, in 1965*.
This year we will see a black man win the nomination for the Democratic party.
Lets hope he doesn't get shot like young Bobby Kennedy.

40 years ago, women were burning their Bra's while me and all my 11 year old friends giggled.
This year we very nearly may have seen a woman elected President.

One similarity between 1968 and 2008 is that we are involved in a War that has the Country split. But as of yet, it is not split with the type of emotion and violence that we saw 40 years ago.
Interestingly enough, the Democratic candidate in '68 was Humphrey, who's policy was to continue the War in Southeast Asia. In fact, we did not have an anti-war Candidate in'68 in either Party....Sirhan-Sirhan shot Bobby Kennedy, the anti-war frontrunner.
This year it looks like I'll be voting for the Dems and not so much because of the War we are in, maybe even in spite of it...."

bulletholes said...

Oh, where are my manners...sounds like a real good time Steve. A real slice!
Heres to Peace!!!

tut-tut said...

My only experience with Hair is the 1979 movie version. I don't like musicals much, but this seems to go a bit beyond the traditional burst-into-song regular type. More of a "happening" . . .

Gary said...

I love "HAIR" the musical. Actually like Tut-Tut I only know it from the 1979 musical which I own on both DVD and CD (was an 8 track back in the day - remember those?). I really wanted to see this production and have hopes that it will move to Broadway. It's time for that revival.

Back in 1990 I had a final callback with the writers for the European tour of HAIR but blew it off because I already had tickets to California (my first time there). No regrets but I wonder what would have happened if I had gone...