jungle in Vietnam, image used during Claude's trip in Act Two

Inspired by the "multi-media" events of the 1960's, a 9'x12' screen became a major design element for The Pentacle's HAiR set.

Images were rear-projected on the special screen's surface, providing a constantly shifting backdrop to the onstage action. It was a way to bring current technology unobtrusviely into a modern production of HAiR without spoiling the show's important period flavor.

The use of projections was settled on early in the designing stages of the show, when creating a free-flowing psychedelic visual look to the entire production became a central staging idea.

The screen was 8' off the ground and running the length of the metal bridge which spanned between the stage right and left scaffolding cubes where The Tribe hung out.

Because of its location upstage of the action, and elevated as it was, the images managed to never upstage the cast. The visuals at times underscored themes in a scene, at times provided ironic contrast, and often illustrated the characters' states of mind.

The images were all in a computer and activated by an operator, with pinpoint cue accuracy--sometimes providing images that flashed in time to music. There was no download time for the images since they were burned into memory and triggered with a computer "slide show" program.

The samples shown here may take time to load, depending on the speed of your computer, so keep in mind when taking a look, that this time lapse wasn't an issue during performances.

In a special prologue written for our production, "The Lecturer" is used slides to illustrate his introduction to 1960's history.

This infamous news photo from Vietnam punctuated the speaker's line, "It was a time of war."

Naked babies banging drums at Woodstock punctuated "It was a time of peace."
As the song "Aquarius" reached its first chorus, a moon backdrop melted into this image of a peace symbol stretching across the lunar surface.
Purposely stilted animations were used several times on the screen.

The Statue of Liberty was looming behind Berger as he finished his monologue which leads in to "Donna." As he said the the statue was "waving at me"--he turned to wave as Liberty disjointedly waved back.

This high resolution animation may take time to load.

Liberty Waving
Mother Mary Winking
A classic painting of Mother Mary hung in the air for the last part of "Donna." As Berger plaintively called for his lost love, Mary and baby Jesus in her arms started winking and blowing kisses in Berger's direction.

Also a high resolution slow loading animation.

The final part of "I Got Life" had the famous "DaVinci Man" as a backdrop. For the final chorus, the illustration burst into a "puppet on a string" jig to dance along with The Tribe.

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DaVinci Man Dancing

Other images from the hundreds used during the show include:

  • "Fuck The Draft" protest poster used as a backdrop to Claude's card burning scene.

  • Timothy Leary was seen during "Manchester England."

  • Leary returned, looking as he did shortly before his death. He gazed contemplatively down from the screen during part of "The Flesh Failures."

  • Andy Warhol paintings were part of the "pop culture" exploding collage of images which flashed on the screen during the second half of "Ain't Got No.

  • For a text description of all images used in the show, click HERE

    A final image example is one of the "silent movie title cards" used throughout the show to introduce some scenes in a Brechtian "epic theatre" manner.

    This card slid from the side of the screen, as if projected from an old fashioned slide projector, and was part of the transition into the dialogue scene preceding "Goin' Down."

    Looping bits of movie footage was also part of the image design for the show. A "2001"-like light show streamed behind the singer during the "My body is walking in space" section of "Walking In Space." Footage taken from a helicopter looking down at Vietnam villages was on the screen as the paratroopers bailed out during "The Trip."

    The late '60's, as experienced by "hippies" such as The Tribe in HAiR, is a time full of rich and colliding images. To make that texture of the era a visible part of the show's physical production had the effect of placing the audience inside the heads of The Tribe and the chaotic time in which they lived.

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    Strands of HAiR