Front Row Centre Players
Runs until June 10
"Got my hair, Got my head
Got my brains, Got my ears
Got my eyes, Got my nose
Got my mouth, I got my smile
The tribe from Hair looks like everyday people theres director Joey Sayer, Brad Simon (Berger), Chris Willott (Claude), along with Monice Peter and Sarah McShee. Theres also the songs, oldies too numerous to mention "Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine," "Frank Mills," "Easy to be Hard" along with some lesser known goodies, including a number called "Sodomy."
"The first thing I would say is that the movie (1979) is a completely different animal than the stage production," notes Sayer. "The stage production was one of the first concept musicals ever created, and as such it doesnt have a linear plot line, per se, in the show. Thats probably the major difference between the movie, which has a plot of some sort, and the musical, which explores the concept of the musical itself.
"The show is about a group of hippies exploring their own lives and their own realities, sharing their own experiences and viewpoints with an audience thats all but being held hostage in the theatre with them
McShee is playing Marjorie, one of the members of the Tribe that the cast has recently christened the "Kismuth Tribe."
"Essentially, the entire play is being told through the music and thats what drew me to it," she says. "The message is very profound, and it was strong in 1968 when it was originally produced and written, but you can still tie it today to everything thats going on after 9/11. Its antiwar. I still think getting the message out there, maybe in a different way, with the satirical nature of this play and how everything is taken to the extreme really shows people that maybe they are too far one way. Maybe they need to open their eyes to another side of thinking."
Aside from the obvious antiwar message the hippies stand for, Hair explores other themes, including equality and racism.
"We like to say, Cool, that was 40 years ago," says McShee. "But its still here. I think its important that 40 years later, we still show how this is how it was then, and although its different now, its not resolved."
"Many people find it relevant to put Hair on nowadays," adds Simon. "And with whats happening in the world, its not a big surprise."
Monice Peter, who plays Emmaretta, notes Hair may also be a shock to people because of the language used in the show.
"You hear all these words Viet Cong, the N word its kind of a shock, especially in Calgary, because its not very common. The first time is a shock. And it might be a little bit hard to understand, because of all the different vocabulary that we have in the show."
Sayer notes there are a few differences between putting on a production in 1968 and one now.
"If theres a difference between the original production and this one, Id say weve got 40 years of hindsight to look back on," Sayer says. "And, as such, weve got the recognition that you can see the similarities between the world today and the world as it was 40 years ago, and recognize how many of the issues back then still resonate today."
"I think a large part of the show is looking at what people are told to think, versus what they actually do, and what their responsibilities really are," adds Willott. "Its a very important message in the show youve got to come to your own beliefs."