Friday, March 23, 2007

The impossibility of Hair, the musical: Marjorie Lyons Playhouse; Mar 22-24, 29-31, 8 pm


David's Long Hair 1978
Originally uploaded by dcsaint.
Centenary College’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse will present the rock musical Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, beginning March 22.

"The play is set in New York City, 1968, and follows a group of disaffected youths," says the press release. It continues, "Their lives are centered on free love, psychedelic drugs, anti-war protests and the pursuit of freedom of expression."

Just to try to capsulize the period in those particular phrases hints to me of the impossibility of understanding that era. For starters, young lives were a balancing act in '68. School, jobs, parents, straight friends: these all had to be integrated into the intoxicating new world of easy drugs, merry-go-round sex and what to do about the war.

To assume you could find a cadre of drama students who understand the philosophy of countercultural youth is probably equally foolhardy. To study Hair - and I'm not going to take up the credibility of a play designed to skim the profit off the cultural upheaval - is to study the mistakes of Vietnam. To inquire into Vietnam is to gain insight into the US in Iraq. And I frankly see no one headed in that direction among the young.

The value in this staging would be in re-opening old wounds. How long has it been since you had a hearty argument over the sins and insights of the beats, hippies and freaks? Maybe there's something yet to be gained from the long-buried philosophical arguments.

Featured players: Heather Bickham, Adam Boyd, Cameron Bradford, David Fitzgibbons, A.J. Haynes, Ae’jay Mitchell, Andre’ Pitre, Stephen Scarlato, Leah Tennyson, Nate Wasson, Karisca Wheeler and Amy Williams.

Student production team: Marissa Brown, Amy San Pedro, Jeffery Kitchens; Savannah Baggerly, Kalah Roberts, and Neecee Blackwell.

Director, CL Kip Holloway.
Katie DuPont, choreography.
Lights and sets, Don Hooper.

March 22-24, 8 pm
Mar 29-31, 8 pm
Mar 25, 2 pm
Reservations: 318-869-5242.
Box office: noon to 4 p.m.
$15. adults, $13, seniors.

5 comments:

Ae'Jay said...

"To assume you could find a cadre of drama students who understand the philosophy of countercultural youth is probably equally foolhardy."
Do you believe this "philosophy of countercultural youth" died with the seventies. I strongly disagree, sir. Yes, it has taken on a different air... but you speak of it as though it is dead... incapable to ressurect. We are a generation bound by the turmolts of a war that most of us disagree with, whispers of a new draft, destruction of our freedoms, and we are all asking the major question "where do I go." We are the products of the "age of aquarius." And for you to say we can't understand is ludicrous. We were surrounded by a production crew who lived the life, from our director, to musical director, to costume designer... we were told their experience... something that can not be read in a book. If you think it is impossible for us to understand... ask the audience members who left the theatre in tears because they saw their message alive and felt the cast emotional attachment and understanding of the hippie "rebellion." Do not belittle our generation... we are the heirs to the "age of aquarius" started by our mothers and fathers...

trudeau said...

Ae'jay, yours is a well-spoken defense of your generation. It's an intelligent response to my ill-advised belittlement. I can hear the emotion in your voice. I apologize for being lazily dismissive.

My arrogance is born of being proud of the activism of my generation. I am always hoping to see it flower again - but I've grown weary of waiting.

In your high-key response I see that, though seemingly quiescent, your group may have the guts to yet mount a widespread questioning of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz status quo.

knox said...

Trudeau makes a point; how do any of us span the time between generations to teach from one to the other? Surely today's youth have something to teach us as well as to learn from us. The sex, the drugs, the music, GOD THE MUSIC, were all right for its time but they were not the theme, just the form of expression it took.

Debbie Buchanan Engle said...

Let's not forget Linda Gaston on costume design for the show - what a cool chicka she is!

Anonymous said...

I applaud the passion the students had but the execution was WAY below the norm for this theatre. I wonder what students learn and how delusional they become when bad singing, clumsy dancing and inept acting is praised and defended. That's not to say everyone in the cast suffered from those elements but they WERE the majority of the evening's "talent."
When you go out "into the real world" to compete for acting roles and theatre jobs, NO ONE will care about anything other than your talent, and MLP seems to be spiraling down hill.
But keep up the passion!