Get ready for a blast from the past as Seattle Academy’s production of the rock and roll musical Hair debuts on November 13. Director Mike Cimino says that he chose the musical for its “tribal mentality.” He wanted a show that had a focus on everyone, instead of just a few principal roles getting the spotlight. He could not have picked a better show for this.
Hair is a story about the 1960’s during the Vietnam War. It focuses on a “tribe” of hippies and what happens to them during a short period of time. The subject matter is sad, and can be a little scary at times, but overall the play is very funny. Although there really isn’t a story to the show, the musical often refers back to the predicament of Claude (Max Boone ‘17). Claude must decide if he should stay with his tribe, or if he should go off to fight in the war. His dilemma is summarized perfectly in the song “Where Do I Go?” when Claude asks for a sign to tell him which path he should choose. He continues to ponder his problem, and the show comes to a climax in the final song, “Let the Sunshine In.” There are other characters that play a part in the story as well, such as Berger (Gabe Stout ‘14), Jeannie (Lilia Cohen ‘14), Sheila (McKenzie Amento ‘14), and many others.
The rehearsal process for Hair has been different from other shows at SAAS. In the first few weeks, Mike was less focused on staging and more focused on educating the cast about the 1960’s era. He also took the cast through a series of exercises to get them to know each other. Before and during many of the rehearsals, the cast practiced negative space exercises by moving with a partner and filling in the empty space around them. The cast also did an exercise that involved bringing out the happiness in each cast member’s face. This process helped the cast grow close and become the tribe Mike wanted them to be. However, the 60’s weren’t all fun and games. Mike stresses that although this time period was “a moment of super optimism,” the realities of the time, including the draft and pervasive drug culture, offset the free-spirited theme. The show also contains references to religion, race, and many of the things that the era struggled to define.
Hair really makes you stop for a moment and think about life. It raises deep questions about humans and what is right and wrong. Not only that, but it is entertaining! So show your school spirit and support your classmates by coming to Hair. It promises to be a “rocking” good time!