5. HAIR SUITE
Hair, the tribal rock musical returns with a production for the decades at the Centennial Drive Auditorium.
‘‘Gimme a head of hair, long beautiful hair, Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen.’’
The lyrics to the title song of 60’s flower-power stage show Hair even made it as far as high school poetry classes back in the day.
Among the other hit songs from the ‘‘tribal rock opera’’ protesting the Vietnam War were The Age of Aquarius, Let the Sunshine In, Easy to Be Hard, Ain’t Got No / I Got Life and Good Morning Starshine.
The Abbey Musical Theatre production that opens in the Centennial Dr Auditorium tomorrow night will be the third the society has produced. The first was in the year of tumult, 1981. The second, in 1996 directed by Robert Rimmer, and featured Dalvanius (of Patea Maori Club fame), and was the last show to grace the stage of the old Opera House before the building received an unable-to-avoid invitation to the ‘wreckers ball’.
So, why bring back a hoary (not to mention hairy) old period piece. Peace, love and understanding is so out of whack with these grasping and conflicted times.
‘‘Exactly!’’ responds director Damian Thorne. Since Vietnam there has been almost continual warfare somewhere on the planet, even if the 60s unified and mobilised anti-war protest movements have faded away.
‘‘It’s plonked in a world where
‘‘I came back to see what she had done and it was exactly what I wanted.’’
– Damian Thorne
war exists and war has existed in every decade that I have been alive,’’ Damian says, ‘‘and there have been protests against war in every decade as well and bad decisions made. So, it’s completely relevant at any time.’’
While the original script is pretty much intact, the show’s hippies have become members of a tribe who are representative of all the intervening decades.
‘‘We’re making the show exist across the ages.’’
There will be David Bowie and Prince tributes, references to Donald Trump and Sarah Palin... Daleks even, while choreographer Nicola Morrison has added elements of hip hop.
‘‘I came back to see what she had done and it was exactly what I wanted. It’s modern and it’s exciting. It’s incongruous with the musical, which is cool, because I really like to see something fit that doesn’t really fit.’’
Despite being ‘‘so last century’’, Damien says the show still packs a punch.
❚ Hair Thursday May 19 to June 4, The Auditorium, Centennial Dr.
The Hair ensemble is giving an old hit new meaning.