Preliminary Lighting Notes


General Show Concept:

---HAiR is theatrical to the utmost. It unfolds in no specific location besides the theatre itself. It takes place at The Pentacle which a Tribe of flower children have taken over. They've constructed a metal junk sculpture that they climb over, sit on, sing from. There's a gently sloping platform decorated with a Peace Symbol stretching in front of their sculpture where they play and dance.

The combination of script and music creates a montage with one purpose in mind: For The Tribe to share with the audience how they live, what's on their minds, and what their hopes for the future are.

There is no plot, but there is one dramatic question which slowly ufolds in Act One and becomes the force that drives Act Two. The question is: Will Claude, the most peaceful and mystical of The Tribe, allow himself to be drafted into serving in Vietnam, or will he remain with his friends?

Most transitions from song to song, scene to scene, are cinematic-style quick cuts. Even during the course of a given song, the mood is apt to suddenly and dramatically shift.

Authors Rado and Ragni have a footnote at the beginning of the script, that the show is presented through the eyes of The Tribe. No small element to how they see things is influenced by the use of drugs.


With all the above in mind, it's clear that much of the unexpected and sudden shifts in mood and locale is emphasized and sometimes completely created with lighting.

Usually there is no need to "justify" a lighting shift. Subtle changes are not to be the hallmark of the cueing style.

Deeply saturated colors are to be dominant. Suddenly plunging the stage in deep reds or deep blues with no regard to "reality" is a typical kind of effect needed throughout.

There is no need to hide any lighting instruments. There is virtually no masking used backstage, and it may even be necessary to purposely place some stage equipment such as lighting instruments in order to emphasize the "commandeered theatre" concept.


---At the proscenium line, elevated seven feet in the air is a bridge. It runs in front of a rear projection screen which is heavily used throughout the show to provide constantly shifting backdrops as well as commentary on the action.

---Paramount is that this projection screen not be washed out by front lighting. The bridge will be used often for soloists, but they cannot be spotlighted or front-lit while there. Side lighting and a severely down angled front light will have to be used.

---There are times when what is projected on the screen will need to be faded-out by having a special or two with patchy gobos pointed at the screen, purposely drowning out the image.

---Back-lighting is extremely important and at times will be the only illumination for a given scene.

---The instruments which are upstage of the proscenium, on visible trees and even make-shift looking supports, need to also provide lighting through the metal sculpture set, so there is the option to have light breaking through the set like beams of sunlight through heavy clouds.

---The aisles are heavily used by the cast, so they need to be well covered with instruments.

---"General illumination" which of course is needed throughout the show, should still have a look to it somehow different than a conventional show. In scenes where most of the stage is used, having the upstage sculpture remain in patchy shadows would be a better choice than having it brightly lit.

---Flat front lighting is to be avoided strenuously. Side lighting and back lighting has to be employed with the approximate ratio of one front light to three back and side lights.

---It's a given that re-patching will be an important tool for achieving the variety we want to squeeze out of limited equipment. As long as it's humanly possible, I don't think the number of patch cues should be a concern. If necessary, a second lighting operator could be in the booth doing only patches.

---As with any musical, the follow spots will be used. However, it would be good to avoid the usual routine of "song--spot---song---spot" typical in musicals. Whenever an alternative way of lighting a soloist is possible, it should be the first choice, so as to avoid an overly Broadwayish look. Spots wide open could become useful for their general illumination potential.


NOTE: The following doesn't list cues per se, but mentions moods and specific effects not already mentioned.

p.7 "Aquarius"

Patches and pools of light. Possible gobo. Dawn is breaking, so illumination increases throughout song.

SPECIAL EFFECT: The first of several theatrical "fires" needed in the show. In this song, there is to be a brazier in which a lock of Claude's hair is burned. Without flame, the brazier should glow, and flash paper could be used by the actor for the moment of ignition.

p.10 "Hashish"

First instance of needing saturated unnatural color in pockets all over the stage, probably a rich deep red.

p.14 "Manchester"

First instance of "pulsing lights" in time to music. Not strobing, but a definitely detectable pulsing of intensity which can be done manually by the operator.

p.16 "Dead End"

First instance of a scene lit with bright pools and dark shadows, as compared to "Aquarius" which was dim during its patchy moments. Also an example of a song which changes moods completely by the end and suddenly becomes a brightly lit full stage.

p.23 "Kama Sutra"

Good chance for saturated pockets of color as in "Hashish" only this time definitely deep blues.

p.29 "Initials"

Good place to first use color wheels so the song has moving colored lights on the cast's bodies. This is also a good instance of a song which definitely would not need spots or any bright lights.

p.47 "Easy To Be Hard"

Rare instance of a specific lighting effect mentioned in the script. "Lights dramatically shift to pools of deep blue" --and it's one song where spots are definitely called for.

p.48 prior to "Don't Put It Down."

Melodramatic thunder and lightning, perhaps even with a lightning bolt gobo. The scene is to look like a very impassioned Shakespearean scene ala Ashland.

p.49 after "Don't Put It Down"

Rare instance of House Lights up, during which the aisles and stage still need to be up bright.

p.53 "Be-In

The Act One finale calls for many mood shifts in the lights.

At first it needs to again be patchy, perhaps with colors saved for this scene.

Eventually the entire stage is brighter than it's ever been before.

SPECIAL EFFECT: Another fire effect, this time in a barrel in which the guys are each to burn their draft cards. Later, this barrel is used like a campfire around which they all sit on an otherwise black stage, so it needs to be a nice looking fire that has movement to it.

p. 57 after "Where Do I Go"

Rotating police car beacon.

Slide projectors with floral images to project onto the cast and floor.


p.59 before "Electric Blues"

In "The Intergalactic Bathtub" which is some sort of abandoned warehouse where The Tribe gets together for impromptu parties. Strings of Christmas tree lights and other specific light sources could be added to suggest the location.

p.60 "Electric Blues"

Starting with the lyrics "We're all encased in sonic armor..." the previous subdued lights are instantly replaced with a Psychedelic Light Show.

On the screen, abstract oil and water images are swirling.

Strong side-lighting could cut across the stage, all in Disco-like saturated colors.

Special lighting equipment such as Disco-balls that rotate.

The cast add the light sources of hand held flashlights and 4th of July sparklers---so general illumination needs to be low, except for spots on the characters in space suits.

The song ends in an explosion supposedly caused by the band's amplifiers being turned up too loudly. The ideal effect would be "rocket launchers" which hurl flash paper up in momentary flaming streaks, ala modern rock concerts.

p.61 "Oh Great God Of Power"

Nothing but Blacklight to illuminate the dancer who is wearing only day-glo body paint.

In keeping with the Kabuki-element of props sometimes being brought by stage hands and handed to actors, the Blacklights could be held up by crew members who kneel close to the dancer, cords trailing behind them and all. Blacklights which are powerful enough to work from a distance are far too costly---This "poor theatre" solution with undisguisedly held instruments is perfect for the production concept.

p.68 "Walking In Space"

Many interesting projections during this scene where The Tribe gets stoned together. Movement is mostly slow and spacey and needs to be only dimly illuminated.

During the section with the lyrics "Red black..." brief flashes of light across the stage almost like lightning.

p.70 through 81 "THE TRIP"

The longest and most complicated section of the show is comprised of several songs, several dialogue segments and many shifts in mood.

THROUGHOUT the trip--crackling lights from the sides and above, as if exposed wires are arching.

THROUGHOUT the trip--more down-lighting emphasizing the strangeness of the scene, and lights having a generally different feel from the rest of the show.


1. p.70--paratroopers scene

---Stark ugly down-light for their fight chant.
---Swirling lights on the soldiers when they're in the helicopter.
---A special in-tight on Claude where it says "laser cone of whirling light."
---Very dark and patchy light with orange backdrop for when they land in Vietnam.

2. p.71--George Washington scene

---A shift to a different kind of patchiness, growing brighter when the Indians attack.

3. p.72--Ulysses S Grant scene

---The most naturalistic segment of The Trip, but still strange and dream-like.

4. p.74--African scene

---Dark patchiness again, similar to the Vietnam segment earlier. Brighter during the song "Abie Baby" probably with spots.

5. p.76--Buddhist Monks scene

---Bathed in sickly yellow or green, and of course patchy.

6. p.78--The killing scene

---Nothing but strobe light as three waves of people kill each other, then re-animate and move backwards, and repeat the wave of killing three times with ever increasing speed. If the strobe rate could speed up as the segment progresses, it would be helpful.

7. p.78--Roll Call

---Sergeant and parents in a spot while extreme low red light illuminates dead bodies on stage.

8. p.79--Children's Games

---Back to "Grant" scene general illumination for the beginning, then an explosion of flashing lights for when the war breaks out again.
---Segment ends again with dead bodies and hopefully low-lying fog which can be side-lit with a cold color.

9. p.79--"3500"

---As the bodies re-animate again and sing, lights remain low, down-lit, with savage flashes of fire red at various cues.
---During the lyrics "Pris'ners in niggertown..." the mood instantly changes to that of a party.
---With the return of the lyrics "Ripped open..." the stage is bathed in blood red.

10. p.80--"What A Piece of Work Is Man"

---The final and only peaceful segment of The Trip. The singers are angelic, so lights as peaceful as possible, yet still dim.
---As the music segues into a reprise of "Walking In Space" shafts of light stab UP through the sculpture and the fog.

p.81 dialogue before "Good Morning Starshine"

Night scene, exterior, which extends the peaceful ending of The Trip. Only slightly brighter when the song begins.

p.86 "The Bed"

Shift to interior. Fairly bright, with possible suggestion of source lights around the "room."

This is the scene with the "people tube" penis prop for which the scene is brightest.

There's a split focus to be achieved when Claude sees soldiers exercising as The Tribe sings. Down-lit pools as in The Trip are needed for the soldiers.

p.89 "Ain't Got No" reprise on through finale

Dramatic fast shifts characterize the remainder of the show starting at this point. There are probably no new effects used, but the following are a few of the key points.

--patchy "Vietnam" lights for when Claude is shot.
--pools shifting in and out during "Flesh Failures" depending on who is singing.
--slow sunrise starting at the beginning of "Let The Sunshine In" and growing to the brightest and warmest full stage illumination used in the entire show. It's essential that at all bright moments previous to this, the stage still wasn't as bright and warm.