Description of Pentacle's Staging of HAiR in Sept-Oct 2000
The flippy-outy turny-ony Berger.
Climbing down from the scaffolding as he talks, The Tribe hangs on every word from Claude as he gives the news that he's passed his physical at the induction center.
Jeanie brings over the lid from her garbage can as a brazier for him to burn his card in---but it turns out to be his library card.
There are several new lines in this section, with Woof telling the others that a new law has made it a federal crime to burn one's draft card.
Margaret Meade (previously called The Tourist Lady) is in bright red, and Hubert is in a Hawaiian shirt as they take to the stage. The outrageous bit right before "Hair," is done completely---with Hud humping intimidatingly on Hubert as Margaret has an orgasm as she clings to Hubert and Hud.
Claude and Berger are all over the stage and its perephia for "HAIR" as The Tribe gyrates with the show's most vigorous production number.
At the song's climax---two Tribe members have climbed up to the bridge to pick up 4 foot poles that have rope wrapped around them. Ten strands of rope, five from each pole, are attached to two head bands which in turn are attached to each other. Claude and Berger, side by side like Gemini twins, back up to the bridge--the headbands are placed on their heads, then they come down to the very edge of the platform as the final repeating refrains of the song are sung. Streaming out from their heads are the ten rope strands of "hair" that The Tribe becomes entangled in as they dance behind the two guys.
"My hair is Divine. I grow it for God."--Dionysus. That quote comes up on the screen during the applause and again looks like the slide from a silent movie.
Margaret comes down center to take the mike off its stand and warble out "MY CONVICTION." On the song's final chord, all the male members of The Tribe gather into a plumage displaying group impersonation of a peacock, Berger being the bird's coy and eyelash-batting head.
The Tribe gathers up by the set for their picture to be taken. When Margaret explains that she's not wearing a dress---the giddy flashing "she" indulges in takes her in a semi-circle all around the circumference of the set, revealing a very male body and a tiny white "posing pouch." When she shushes the audience and tells them that "Hubert doesn't know"---the line is punctuated with a lusty grabbing of his scantily covered genitals.
This version of the script uses the "Fuck you, Margaret Meade!" exit---said very sweetly by the waving Tribe. Margaret's riled up reply is "Welllll, fuck you very much kids!"
Sheila comes dive bombing one aisle as Margaret and Hubert exit up the other. This time, Sheila is on her own, instead of being carried on in a flyng position. With outstretched arms she zooms around the edges of the set and doubles back again as the guys zoom down, also flying, to greet her downstage.
The Tribe circles around and tries to settle down as Sheila launches into her excited report of levitating The Pentagon.
When Sheila starts "spreading the groovy revolution" by climbing on top of Berger and rolling around with him on the floor, Claude, Hud ("There's a long train comin'"), and Woof add themselves to the pile-up with frisky humor more than explicit eroticism.
The guys briefly hum an acapella "Thus Spach Zarathustra" when they form their improvisation of DaVinci man.
Berger's nasty explosion of "Don't tell me to stop it!" turns into a playful basketball game with his buddies, as they toss the yellow shirt from Sheila around like a ball. Berger is trying to cover up his fit of pique with humor, but none of the women on stage appreciate it.
Nightshade, the show's "Kabuki Prop Man" brings out a tall stool for Sheila to sit on as she begins "EASY TO BE HARD." We're suddenly in the dark patchy blue environment of a coffee shop as Sheila soulfully sings her plaint, and The Tribe has become a wall of indifferent backs lined up along the proscenium line.
Claude had tried to be invisible during the embarrasing argument between Sheila and Berger, placing a napkin over his face like a make-shift mask. During the song, he quietly sits and turns the napkin into a paper flower. Berger is lurking barely seen in the spill of dark blue light. When he makes a sudden exit in the middle of the song, Sheila gets off her stool and belts out her sentiments. Hud, Apache, and Woof are in a tight circle off to the side, quietly sharing a joint.
As the stage lights are restored, Claude gallantly offers Sheila the paper flower, and she's ready to accept it when Berger comes back on wearing an overcoat.
It sounds as if Berger is ready to apologize to Sheila, but soon his murmuring sounds turn into short gasping cries as if he's in pain. Moving to down center, he is now screaming in agony. The Tribe's wall melts as they slowly turn in curiosity to see what the hell is happening to Berger.
A naked doll plops out from under Berger's coat. He launches into an absurd routine, walking the doll around, then using it as a ventriloquest's dummy, explaining that he and "Little Georgie" are going to go sew the shirt up.
With a helpless look to Claude, who has stepped back in deference to his more flamboyant buddy---Sheila runs after Berger. We can see she knows it's crazy to accept his "apology" but that she's hopelessly smitten with the big goof.
Woof leads The Tribe in a hopping mass exit as they chant "hung hung hungy upy" and distort their faces into expressions designed to scare tourists in the park. The lighting is only backlight as they exit and Nightshade sadly removes the stool he brought on for Sheila.
The Minute Men flag featuring a coiled rattlesnake and the legend "Don't Tread On Me" pops up on the screen as loud thunder roils around the theatre and lightning flashes. A figure draped under the American flag emerges from under the bridge. Woof, wearing a tiny cowboy hat, and Berger make melodramatic entrances during the storm, striking 19th Century Del Sarte "Shakespearean" poses as they demand for the "ghost" to speak.
Lights bump up as the flag is pulled off and Claude is revealed underneath, reacting as if he's been suddenly stripped naked. He inexplicably wags a shaming finger at Berger as he says "shanti shanti shanti!" before running off.
Berger and Apache perform the traditional flag folding during a fast and very twangy "DON'T PUT IT DOWN" as Woof brings out the Indian pot with a now 3 foot Twiggy in it. With gardening tools he lovingly prunes his plant as he barks out the song. When the flag is folded, the three of them do a goofy hoedown dance. The projected backdrop is of twenty historic American flag designs that were used previous to the stars and stripes.
Suddenly The Tribe is pouring out from the stage, and from the exit doors in the auditorium close to the stage--throwing dozens of yellow "Be-In" flyers into the air and excitedly inviting the audience to join them in the park.
They're up in the aisle when a very stoned Jeanie is left on stage, unable to focus as Phoenix, concerned for her over-indulgence tries to calm her down. The Tribe becomes increasingly agitated as Jeanie brazenly smokes grass and pats the unborn baby which has swollen her to full maternal size.
Claude leaps on the stage, wearing his British Flag cape, looking very much like some kind of English super hero as he silently castigates Jeanie for her irresonsible behavior.
In reply, Jeanie moves down to a mike to start singing "HIPPIE LIFE." Berger soon joins her, and Claude moves away, trying to disguise his concern over his wild friends' behavior.
The mood of the song changes to one of inspiring idealism as The Tribe comes dancing back to the stage, with a stylized movie-Indian bobbing up and down.
Despite the the disturbing start to the song, The Tribe manages to lift our spirits again as they illustrate the song with beautiful sign language, and then make a slow exit in all directions, again emulating the Indian dances they've seen in old movies.
Claude has been sitting up in the scaffolding and now we hear him as the song fades away---He's reading out the words he's been writing in his little poetry journal. "We starve, look at one another short of breath..." Jeanie is nearby, now over the dizzying rush of getting high, and watching Claude with love and admiration.
When Jeanie gives Claude the book on astral projection, an astral sound sweeps through and what looks to be a mysterious depiction of the astral plane comes up on the screen. A second glance reveals that the astral tunnel which the astral spirits are gathered around is distinctly feminine, and the spirits are like sperms rushing home to the ovum.
The scene concludes with a sweet improvisation of Claude picking up an invisible phone. Touched by Jeanie's devotion, and ashamed at his brusque dismissal of her, he tries to make an effort to show her he does appreciate her. Of course, Jeanie thinks that proves that he "loves" her.
Crissy is left on a dark stage, sitting in the left cubicle of the set, with legs dangling in the air---looking very young and forlorn. On the screen we see the outside of the Waverly Theatre. On the marquee are the words "Crissy + Frank." The song is done very simply in a spot and with a hand held wireless mike.
As Crissy goes back to daydreaming about her Hell's Angel heart throb, the screen is filled with beautiful blue and the colorful image of Krishna as a young boy.
Coming down the aisle, gently singing and sensuously turning in circles are The Tribe, now dressed in various articles of clothing---ponchos, vests, t-shirts, robes, all tie-dyed in yellow and oranges. Bringing up the rear on each line are girls wearing pink parachutes like capes. Claude has come down to the stage with a huge parachute wrapped around himself and bundled in a strange shape something like an insect's chrysalis.
The scene turns into stylized group movement as The Tribe chants "love love, come come on." When their revelery is interupted by disapproving "adults" stepping out from the crowd, the screen is filled with the triplicated images of various animals---bears, then a lion.
But the images keep returning to ones matching the Tribe's ecastic mood, including a beautiful '60's poster of a tie-dyed couple locked in a naked embrace.
For the refrain of "marijuana marijuana" Woof is holding Twiggy aloft and the guys are bowing down to the plant in mock solemnity as three girls perform a Chinese banner dance at center stage.
The Be-In builds to an orgy of draft card burning. It's easy to to see the Tribe as a band of primitives deep in the jungle as the guys dance around a rusted out oil drum and in a style unique to each of them, flinging their cards with disdain into the waiting flame.
"Burn it Berger, burn it" the Tribe starts chanting. In response, their leader strips down to his small Tarzan-like loincloth again and dances around the drum like a possessed medicine man, with loud masculine stomps of his feet.
"Aquarius -- Aqaurius" The Tribe calls to Claude when Berger has burned his card. The poet has retreated up an aisle--watching his friends with fear and alarm. Now he comes back to the stage, wearing small rectangular dark glasses, and an elegant sheath robe of off-white, trimmed in African motifs. He looks very much like a psychedelic Jesus as seen by an African folk artist.
He puts his card into the barrel, but doesn't let go of it. He suddenly withdraws the card---the opening bars of "WHERE DO I GO" softly begin as The Tribe freezes, and Claude turns to us, slowly and thoughtfully removing his John Sebastian shades.
The song is sung simply and honestly, beginning with Claude sitting on the edge of the stage in a spot. Upstage, The Tribe is quietyly communing around the barrel which has now become a campfire for them. The youngest Tribe members look up from the group with inquiring looks when Claude sings about their "sweet faces."
As the song progresses, the staging becomes more abstracted, with The Tribe becoming a moving backdrop to Claude's soul-searching. They are aimlessly pacing, then they are reaching up---they collapse into fetus positions. With undulating waving motions of their bodies, they move their arms into the air before collapsing into tight fetuses again.
Finally, they move protectively around Claude as two of them lovingly, slowly remove his robe, and two girls wrap him with the giant parachute. Claude understands they are asking him to stay and always be with them--he's very moved as his questions to the audience become more pained and the music builds.
When the singing stops, The Tribe has become a human barricade completely surrounding Claude who looks very much like Christ wrapped for burial---or perhaps a new born baby wrapped for presentation to his mother.
The band continues briefly--drums off on a wild loud improvisation as savage power chords ring out from the guitar. Up on the screen we see the pained suffering face of an elderly Indian chief---the image flickers and settles on the picture of naked lovers at Woodstock. After flickering again, we see Kim Phuc as a young girl, running naked from her burning village in Vietnam. Once more the screen flickers before settling on an image we saw during "Aquarius"--that of a group of flower children sitting on a hill in the configuration of a peace symbol.
A revolving red light starts flickering on the screen and an approaching siren is heard.
The Tribe is suddenly paniced--they run out of the theatre in all directions. Hud isn't successful in getting Claude to run off to safety with him. Instead, Claude slowly gathers up the folds of his parachute robe, saunters backwards with an embittered sardonic look towards the audience. Only at the last second does he turn and dash out of the theatre as the siren contines, then fades out as the house lights come up.
END OF ACT ONE
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