Shows: Spotlight’s new-gen tackle tribal love musical Hair..
DECADES have passed since the Vietnam War and the counter culture movement that grew out of it, but the stage musical Hair, debuting at Spotlight Theatre tomorrow night, remains as relevant as ever.
It tells the stories of Claude, his friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and their long-haired, politically active hippy friends as they juggle lives, loves and the sexual revolution with rebellion against the war, conservative parents and society in general.
Sean Curran, who plays Berger, says themes such as free love, drug abuse, war and being an outsider, resonate as much today as they did in the 1970s.
‘‘History has a tendency to repeat itself,’’ he says.
‘‘The conversations we’ve been having are interesting. A couple of the younger kids in the production have heaps of questions. We try to answer those as best we can and contrast it all to what’s happening right now.’’
Curran hopes Hair will bring together audiences of all ages.
‘‘It’s about the kids of that age who are now our elders,’’ he says.
‘‘Everyone I’ve spoken to in their 40s, 50s and 60s, such as my parents and their friends, say they’ll get a buzz out of it. It’s special for them that we’re taking on this content. It’s still very relevant. I don’t think the spirit died.’’
Curran describes himself as a bit of a hippy. He says the role of Berger has been one of his best fits to date.
‘‘I’ve been a free-spirited soul for most of my life, and I feel quite at home in the Berger’s pants, or loincloths . . . whatever he wears,’’ he laughs.
‘‘One of the best things about the run is it plays the same dates as the 44th anniversary of Woodstock. These days, there are so many regulations for raves and festivals, but on August 16, 17 and 18 we can relive that ’70s spirit.
‘‘Some of the cast members, including our musical director, were in a production before in the ’90s and bring so much knowledge with them.
Though the production brings together cast members with very different vocal styles and ranges, director Kim Reynolds says Hair is the most stress-free production she has ever worked on.
Hair includes Sean Curran, seated front and centre.
‘‘This kind of show attracts a certain kind of person who is theatre-trained but has a good dose of rock in them too,’’ she says.
‘‘We have a Ten Tenor in the show, Scott Muller, who plays the lead role, Claude, and other professional performers.
Reynolds says it’s been more challenging for younger ones to grasp the concepts of the show because they have grown up in different times.
‘‘We’ve done a lot of research and I’ve sent them heaps of YouTube clips and I think if anything being in the show has made them more aware and I hope it will do the same thing our audience.
‘‘A couple of the guys have grown their hair and they have really adopted the characters. We’ve gone with the original stage version more so than the movie which I thought was a really random representation of the story.’’
Reynolds says the show isn’t for kids as it’s renowned for its profane depiction of illegal drug use, language, treatment of sexuality, irreverence for the American flag and a controversial nude scene.
– JESSICA HUXLEY
Hair plays Spotlight Theatre, Thursdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm from tomorrow until August 24, with 2pm matinees on August 11 and 18. Call 5539 4255 to book.
The cast of Spotlight Theatre’s production of