Description of Pentacle Theatre's Production of


by Ragni, Rado, MacDermot

as Directed by Randy Bowser


Grant enters, wearing an elegant blue coat-cape. He's drunk on his ass and carries a flask. He and all the characters in the roll call have variously colored day-glo signs around their necks, indicating who they are, in a hippie send-up of Germanic theatre of the 1930's.

Dionne as Lincoln wears an incredibly tall black stove hat, that reminds us of Dr. Seuss's "Cat In A Hat."

Berger takes on the roll of Clark Gable, wearing gigantic ears that flop as he walks. Booth wears a black yarn moustache, and Jeanie as Custer wears a yellow yarn moustache and squashed cavalry hat. The film leader is looping on the screen, and the zapping from an electrical "Jacob's Ladder" is heard---as if Claude has yet another cinematic memory mixing in with his vision--that of classic horror film soundtracks.

A strangely droning minuet version of "Aquarius" comes in when they group is supposed to be marching off to war, but they daintily dance instead.

The next scene seems to be superimposed on the minuet as the two white girls who sang "Electric Blues" enter in sexy "African" costumes with colorful feathers and lame loin-cloths made from the same fabric The Supremes wore earlier. One carries a wicked looking spear, the other a pole with a shrunken head stuck on top. They are dead pan and focused straight out. Behind them, Hud is dressed in the beret and leather jacket of a Black Panther. He threatens Lincoln with a switchblade until she takes her hat off and is then recognized as a black sister.

Grabbing a mike, Hud and his two unlikely companions sing an angry "ABIE BABY" in their surreal surroundings.

The first part of the song is punctuated with a sudden wide grin from Hud. Lincoln takes the mike and performs a sultry purring version of the Gettysburg address as one of the soldiers--a girl with very long red hair shines her shoes.

Booth makes a melodramtic entrance carrying a large flint lock pistol as the song ends in rich jazz voicings.

After the famous line, "I ain't dyin' for no white man"--the trio and Lincoln make a hand slapping exit.

Claude is crawling around hopelessly in his yellow spot again as all sorts of gongs start ringing out. Three Monks enter, in distorted versions of the "Be-In" tie-dye costumes. One has a dark saffron sash over her shoulder---Buddhadalirama. When she reaches out to touch Claude's finger tip with her own, a loud atomic explosion is heard and a deadly mushroom cloud bursts on the screen. All is bathed in sickly yellow light as Buddhadalirama pulls out a slim volume from her sash and announces that at $10 a copy, the audience can buy her autographed book "Be Enlightened." She warns us we should get them while they're hip.

At the end of "GIVE UP ALL DESIRE" the lead monk is doused with gasoline, and she waves silk flame streamers on sticks as she makes a screaming exit.

Three Nuns with airpline like head gear enter chanting about the "fruit of the loom"---and soon we're in the wave of death of the Strobe Light scene.

After strangling the monks with their rosary beads, KKK members, one looking especially distasteful with his hood over bare chest, enter and kill the nuns. Three spacemen, with toy spark-emitting ray guns and fantastic looking Sci-Fi silver helmets kill the KKK. The Africans enter with blow darts, three clowns with multi-colored wigs and bulbous noses kill the spacemen. Apache, dressed in full Indian garb as always, is the last on stage---after screaming in silent agony to the sky, he slits his own throat. All re-animate, move backwards, and the wave of killing is repeated.

"My Country Tis of Thee" softly plays as the Sergeant appears upstage in a red spot, growling out the roll call as the corpses on stage answer back.

On stage left, in a green spot, Mom and Dad (Jeanie and Phoenix) talk to a suit of clothes on a hangar as if its Claude. Fern, dressed in a black body stocking painted like a Halloween skeleton costume, comes up behind them and takes the suit to the Sergeant.

As "Children's Games" begins its childish lilting theme, Death throws a pink hula-hoop into the air, and the bodies re-animate to become chilren at play. Death stations herself far down right, spinning the hula hoop relentlessly on her lithe hips as London Bridge, Hop-Scotch and Ring-Around-The-Rosy grow violent, and the children start fighting savagely with each other. Some of them pick up Claude and bash his head repeatedly into the stage, chanting "love love" as he screams out for Berger---but Berger is a non-comprehending child who now breaks out into a fight with his playmates.

Finally---the stage is littered with bodies again as blood red light pours straight down on them.

The deceptively peaceful sounding opening to "3-5-0-0" begins, and one by one the bodies slowly stand as they sing various solo lines. Scattered over the entire stage, the bodies raise invisible rifles and take aim at the audience--"mail order rifles shoot the muscles..." When they start whispering the first section of "prisoners in niggertown"---lights shift dramatically as all the bodies suddenly have sickningly broken necks. They are shifting into a new pattern.

On the second refrain, Death is at center, surrounded by a tableaux of a frozen and grotesque Dixie-land band as the corpses with broken necks circle them haltingly like the zombies in horror movies. Lights bump up bright as Death rises up on the backs of corpses, and she macabrely conducts the scene, with an expression of remarkable calm on her dead face.

Napalm bombs explode on the screen in a horrifying film loop as the bodies suddenly are living humans again, trying to escape as the lights plunge the stage back into blood red darkness. They are caught in invisible barbed wired----unseen guards rip open their backs with machine gun fire in a haunting and ugly echo of Berger's "guerilla warfare" bit earlier.

The bodies are again scattered over the stage as low lying smoke pours in over them.

Silhouetted against the napalm barrage on the screen, two figures step into view, arms slowly coming down to their sides, as if they are gently drifting to earth.

At first we only hear them---the angels on the battlefield. Then, as they climb down from the scaffolding, we start getting glimpses of them. The youngest boys in The Tribe, now with short hair, dressed as soldiers, are singing "WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS MAN" angelically as they slowly walk amongst the bodies--faces of compassionate and yet aloof heavenly visitors.

Claude is picked up in a spot. He sings "I have of late but wherefore I know not lost all my earth..." and the song continues as a sweet sounding trio.

When the soldier-angels peacefully step into the aisles, the lights shift and a stunning view of Earth as seen from space looms on the screen. We see that the bodies are reinhabited by the familiar Tribe members now. They slowly traverse the stage, reaching out to gently and lovingly touch each others faces, and eventually reach their original sitting positions from the beginning of "Walking in Space."

Berger is talking directly after the music--the scene is continuing without the interuption of applause. He's calling to Claude. The Tribe joins in softly calling to Claude who is lying on his side down center and shivering.

When Claude has regained consciousness, he is full of combative anger. On shakey legs that abort his attempts to break into a fight with Berger, he impotently throws himself dispairingly at his friend screaming with disbelief and panic--"What did you put in that joint?!" The Tribe is up on their feet, alert and deeply concerned over Claude's intense reaction to his bum trip.

But Claude's mood is mercurial---now he's holding Berger and squeezing out the words--he wants to go to Mexico. Now he's taking out a jar of makeup and crossing his chest with a large "X"---a palpable indication of how he truly wishes he could be invisible. He humbly tries to laugh off his thought that if he was invisible--he could perform miracles.

When the clock strikes One--it's a surreal auditory hallucination of a clock, eerily playing the opening notes of "Aquarius."

Lights settle into a deep midnight setting as The Tribe moves upstage and sleepily collapses into various piles---while downstage, Berger has firmly wrapped his arms around Claude as they both sit and try to warm their souls with each other's presence.

Claude screams to the sky that he wishes THE FUCK IT WOULD SNOW. He dissolves into tears as he says "fuck" again and Berger comforts him with a softly repeated "fucky fuck." An earth-cry comes out of Claude in a tumble of words--he wants to hang on a cross and eat corn flakes.

The moment is interupted by one of the soldier-angels who now returns as an angry woman yelling at them from ove to be quiet.

Claude crawls away backwards, and with panicy tones tells Berger that in the morning, his thing fell off and washed down the drain.

After trying to decide who will go home with whom, Claude is coaxed back down from the scaffolding by Sheila---while Berger intently studies her. "Will she go through with the bargain?" he is undoubtedly wondering.

Woof howls against a projection of a stylized looking moon, and Sheila begins GOOD MORNING STARSHINE" in an attempt to clear the air of tension. She tentatively reaches out to a reluctant Berger when she sings of "my love and me."

The various little circles of campfire groups The Tribe has settled into now start stirring, as some start dancing and singing to the happy song. One girl has soap bubbles, and starts happily sending streams of bubbles into the air.

As the song progresses, a nebula seems to perpetually explode on the screen as Sheila goes out into the audience with an open mike---a nostalgia filled audience member offers a phrase of the song and gets a spattering of applause as more people on stage start playing with soap bubbles, and two girls up on the bridge swing poles that have threads on which beautiful puffy silver stars dangle.

Order seems to have been peacefully restored. Two guys come carrying a mattress with blue and yellow tie-dyed sheets down the aisle. Most of The Tribe ended up in the house by the end of "Starshine" and now with semi-reverent but decidedly frisky intent follow the hallowed bed as it's carried down to the stage.

Berger sings the opening verse of "THE BED" followed by Sheila--who is clearly not pleased with what seems to be Berger's blatant contrivance to get Sheila and Claude together and alone in a room with the hallowed bed.

Tension springs again up between Berger and Sheila as the party commences. At first, most of the Tribe dive onto the mattress and frolic in a playful human knot---then several others carry on a large hoop that's covered with material. It is extended across and over the bed, until a full ten feet of a very silly looking gigantic penis, pink cloth with darker pink head, and blue veins is dominating the stage. Tribe members coming shooting out of the end of it--throwing white balloons with silk ribbon tails and white confetti as they leap out of the end. There are four or five such explosions---then a pause, and finally Apache comes drooping out and tosses a barely inflated ballon into the air.

All the while, everyone has been singing, trying to forget that Claude may be leaving them. As the huge penis is starting to be retracted, the two soldier-angels come marching double time down an aisle, and pinned in a red spot, perform jumping jacks at the down right corner of the stage. Claude's eyes widen in barely controlled terror as he takes in this vision of war superimposing itself on the revelry behind him.

When the soldiers march back up the aisle, we see Sheila and Berger in a pantomime argument on the bed as the party continues upstage of them. Claude is awkwardly adjusting his hair and clothes, knowing that his friend has tried to arrange for him to have a night alone with the woman he worships.

The party is over---The Tribe sings "AQUARIUS GOODNIGHTS" as they hug Claude, uncertain if this goodnight is just until the next day---or forever---or--?

The Tribe becomes the walls of the room. Berger flashes Claude the peace sign. "Peace, man." And then with a suggestive jerk of his thumb in Sheila's direction, he says --"Piece---man." Claude is embarrased by his crudity---Berger tries to take a happy-go-lucky exit, but can't help but pause at the edge of the room. Is he suddenly concerned about Claude and Sheila being alone--or is he concerned he may never see his friend again. We're not sure.

Lights fade to black except for a midnight pool on the awkward Sheila and Claude on the bed. He tells her that he's not going into the Army---his people are sending a spaceship for him so he can return to his planet. Claude's whimsy touches Sheila---she offers her hand while she looks off in the direction of Exanaplanetooch. Claude is kissing her neck--they are touching---The band hasn't stopped the pulsing rhythm of "The Bed" as the scene continues.

Just as we think the couple will make love, Sheila pulls away--she's going to leave a note for her parents. She firmly commands Claude before she exits, "Exorcism of the khaki!"--and Claude is left alone, in defeat, on the bed as The Tribe break their wall and dash out in all directions.

He reverently picks up the mattress, takes it up stage---and now prepares for the final ritual.

He stands grim faced and determined directly under the bridge. Nightshade, still in his oriental garb, and now also wearing one of the staw Vietnamese hats we earlier saw on a fleeing villager---he's reaching down and placing an Army helmet on Claude. In reaction, Claude, still facing front, reaches up to receive a rifle. He runs forward with it---he's in a spot--the rest of the stage is in broken dim pools.

At the edge of the platform he announces that he's human being number 1001963297--"AIN'T GOT NO" comes crashing in with a pile driver mechanical insistance.

The Tarot Card for "The Fool" appears on the screen.

Claude is suddenly in the Vietnamese jungle, and reduced to nothing more than a frightened young man cut off from his platoon. Nightshade, as The Sniper has reached the stage and is looking around for his target as Claude cries out "Ain't Got NO!" He lays down his rifle--he is flashing the peace symbol as he looks fearfully up into the trees around him. The Sniper sees him. Facing front, just as Claude is, he takes aim and fires. As the deadly shots ring out, and Claude is thrown to the ground with bullets ripping through his body, primitive percussive sounds start emmiting from the back of the auditorium.

Claude is dead. He's died on his knees, eyes staring up into the sky. Willow, the Tribe prop girl rushes out, and with stoic expression, holds something up to Claude's chest. She unfurls a long gracefully pluming length of red ribbon into the air---Claude's blood is shooting out as us. A heavy snow instantly begins to fall.

The Tribe is chanting and pouring in from all directions. The screen announces with the final silent movie title card, "At The U.S. Induction Center." Some people have protest signs from act one. Some have army blankets. All are shivering but determined to block the entrance to the induction center. The chant is loud and angry--the percussion is almost deafening as The Tribe bangs on the set as if it's one big drum.

Now on the screen is the classic protest poster featurning a peace symbol and the words "Make Love Not War."

Berger comes dancing in, with his usual dervish-like abandon. He's wearing the repaired yellow shirt Sheila gave him.

Claude appears at the auditorium exit door. He's dressed in Tiger camoflauge. His head comes slowly up as he removes his hat--we see his close cropped military haircut and he says "I'm right here."

The Tribe freezes. The snow stops. The music stops. The Tribe gathers in a tight circle as "THE FLESH FAILURES" begins and Claude sings simply and earnestly to us.

When he's on the stage, his image is suddenly doubled as a live camera picks up a close up of him and it springs up directly behind him. He's fashioning his future on "films in space."

As he tries to understand if he's dead or not--Berger and The Tribe leap to their feet---crying out for Claude. When they are spread out across the stage, each searching the air in frozen longing, Claude weaves in and out of his friends as he sings the "MANCHESTER REPRISE" and three girls at the stage left mike plaintively sing "EYES LOOK YOUR LAST."

Claude's exit is pained and frantic as The Tribe's hands move out in front of him.

Jeanie and Sheila are at the stage right mike continuing the song as Crissy approaches Berger at center with an ornately carved wooden box. A large tag hangs from the box saying "4 Berger."

Slowly the devastated young man opens the box. Crissy is clinging to him, dissolving into tears as she glimpses the box's contents.

Finally we see what's inside---at the end of Sheila and Jeanie's verse, Berger thrusts his fist up to the sky and clasped in it are Claude's golden locks of hair, apparently gathered from the barber's floor and shipped to his friend as a farewell gift.

The Tribe slowly comes forward, singing to us. A picture of Timothy Leary, shortly before his death, looks down from the screen---a sober portrait in comparison to the grinning guru we saw early in act one.

Jeanie is the first to see that they've been up all night. She slowly comes forward, but can find no joy in the usually joyful sight of the rising sun.

Sheila, wearing the British flag cape Claude gave her, comes forward to comfort the now no-longer-pregnant Jeanie. Then Phoenix comes forward. He lovingly takes the papoose off of Jeanie's back---the one holding Jeanie's new baby. The confused young woman looks up and really sees Phoenix for the first time---he's asking her to "let the sunshine in." He's there to love both her and her baby.

Others are softly joining in singing---they are holding each other, offering each other even more love than we've seen throughout the love filled evening.

The Tribe parts---and we see that a body is lying up center under an American flag. The Teddy Bear Berger has worn tied from a rope around his waist all night now rests on the flag. Claude's hair now hangs like a sacred charm from Berger's waist.

Those holding protest signs take the placards off---the sticks are white crosses. They form an impression of Arlington as they stand at the head of the body.

In an impassioned Eagle Dance, Berger is dancing around Claude's body---he ends up at Claude's head and thrusts his drum sticks into the air, making an improvised cross.

The Tribe moves in front of the scene--their voices are growing stronger as they entreat the audience to let the sunshine in. Up on the screen we catch live images of them as they move across the stage.

A spotlight opens up at the back of the house. A young man, long flowing hair--and the white wooly vest we remember from act one---he's dancing and moving down the aisle. Berger has emerged from behind the others---he stops---he sees the vision--he sees the spirit of Claude.

The smiling laughing Claude rushes to Berger and leaps up on him---legs wrapped around his friend's waist--they spin ecstatically together, they kiss, and still embracing they stand side by side and add their voices to those of The Tribe.

Nothing but percussion as everyone raises their hands above their heads --clapping, belting out the music with passionate abandon.

Finally the song comes to a full throated ending as The Tribe stands embracing each other and looking imploringly out at the audience.

The live full stage picture on the screen fades out with the stage lights.


The Tribe takes bows in waves of five people at a time. When they acknowledge the band, the response is more music--Dionne grabs a mike and starts singing"Aquarius"---The Tribe is pouring into the auditorium---audience members are up and coming down to the stage---The live picture fades in again on the screen and the whole theatre is on its feet clapping, singing "Aquarius" then "Hair" and finally a repeating refrain of "Let The Sunshine In" that nobody wants to ever end.

Berger and others are standing on the arms of seats clapping out the tempo---balloons are being tossed---and everyone is applauding each other, Tribe, audience---until it finally has to end.

But everyone knows that it really never ends.

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