New era, new au­di­ence, new re­vival for Hair

The Tribune (NZ) - - MONTHLY EVENTS CALENDAR INSIDE -

The cel­e­brated rock opera Hair will open in a new era and to a new au­di­ence next month.

Di­rec­tor Damian Thorne says he was at­tracted to the land­mark show which cre­ated such con­tro­versy in the 1960s be­cause he could present it to a new gen­er­a­tion who knew lit­tle about it.

When he re­searched the mu­si­cal, he dis­cov­ered that many is­sues at the time Hair was launched still res­onate nearly 50 years later.

He has chan­nelled the 60s op­po­si­tion to the Viet­nam War and the hip­pie phe­nom­e­non into the story of a time­less com­mune protest­ing against war and vi­o­lence and ad­vo­cat­ing peace.

‘‘The story is rel­e­vant in any age and we’ve cre­ated a group of peo­ple who live their lives in a dif­fer­ent way to con­ven­tional so­ci­ety, while op­pos­ing con­flict in the world,’’ Damian says.

‘‘The com­mu­nity is made up of a leader, Joseph Berger, and his fol­low­ers who look af­ter each other, are com­pas­sion­ate to the most vul­ner­a­ble and have a com­mon be­lief in what they do.’’

Damian has re­mained faith­ful to the lead­ing char­ac­ters of the Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre (AMT) show but has chal­lenged his cast to cre­ate per­son­al­i­ties for them­selves. Rather than just be ‘‘cho­rus’’, the Hair en­sem­ble has fleshed out their char­ac­ter with a back­ground, fam­ily dy­namic, pur­pose, mo­ti­va­tion and per­son­al­ity.

Hair pro­gresses through the re­la­tion­ships and po­lit­i­cal events to where the cast end in a dif­fer­ent space and mind­set from where they be­gan.

Mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Roger Buchanan has as­sem­bled an eight-piece rock band to ac­com­pany such num­bers as Age of Aquarius, Let The Sun­shine In and Good Morn­ing Starshine which are as time­less and en­gag­ing as the show.

ATM’S Hair, chore­ographed by Ni­cola Mor­ri­son, runs from May 19 to June 4 at The Au­di­to­rium, Cen­ten­nial Drive.

Hair di­rec­tor Damian Thorne (left) in­ter­prets the roles of Claude (Tyrell Beck) and Dionne (Tia Ron­gokea).

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