Sunday, July 27, 2008

So yeah...

This is blog post number one.

I suck at introductions and am worse at conclusions, so a basic statement of that fact should be a good place to start.

Anyway, HAIR has been on my peripheral since I got into theater. Until my senior year of high school, the only things I really knew about that stage show was that it was about hippies, "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In" (thank you, Fifth Dimension), and that people got naked.


That's really not much to go on. And that's probably comparable to what most people know about the show.

I was given a copy of the original Broadway recording, listened to it over and over and over and over and really loved the music. I still had no clue what the hell was going on, but I knew that I really liked the music. I put the CD away for a few years and only got it out again when I heard New Line was holding auditions for it.

The difference a few years made was astounding.

I still didn't really know what was going on with the plot, but after six years of performing and learning, I was able to appreciate how complex the score was.

And it was the first time I realized that the song was not called "Let the Sunshine In."

This show is coming at very strange, hard, transitory period in my life, which I'm not going to get into right now. The very first time we sang the finale, even just in learning, I could feel myself tearing up. So everyone is going to have to pardon me for being a basket case for the next ten weeks or so.

This show... well, what do I want out of it? I want my singing voice back, that's for damn sure. I want to connect with the cast (I know only a few of them vaguely from seeing other shows at New Line) . I want to be able to look back and say that this show helped me get through this difficult period. I want the audience to look beyond the hippie -Aquarius/Sun Shine-nudity parts they think they know all about and see the message that's being presented, even if they don't quite agree.

I've been working on the music quite a bit and, oh holy hell, is there so much more of it than I remembered working on this last week and a half. But I love it, I really do. Though the irony of practicing "The Flesh Failures" while my roommate is playing a shoot-'em-up jungle game is not lost on me. Or him, for that matter.

Without really knowing why, I picked a random book off my shelf a few weeks ago. Another Roadside Attraction, by the king cat of hippie fiction lit himself, Mr. Tom Robbins. This will be my third time reading it and, if you've read any of his work, you'd know why he's appropriate to read alongside doing this show:

" 'I believe in birth, copulation, and death,' she answered. 'Although copulation embodies the other two, and death is only a form of borning. At any rate, I was born nineteen years ago. Someday I shall die. Today, I think I'll copulate.' "

Copulation- man, so much of it in this show. Not the act of, per se, but it's present in almost every song. Sex is such a natural part of our lives- when did it become so taboo or forbidden to talk about? And nudity. Oh yes, the part of the show where people get all kinds of nekkid.

I've done nudity on stage before, which friends have been bringing up to me, in the form of, "Well, that shouldn't really be a problem for you with this show." To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do. Hell, I probably won't know until we get on stage to do that scene.

I wonder how many people are going come to this expecting full-frontal decadence. Because showing our bodies can be so "wrong" in polite society, being naked is no longer natural. We come into this world naked. I look at my young nieces who are perfectly happy to run around the house in their underwear and wonder at what age modesty hits. When done right, nudity in live theater can be beautiful, uncomfortable, intimate, etc., etc. I found after doing it in one show that no matter how intense it feels to you onstage, it's nothing compared to what's going on with the audience. Imagine being drawn completely into a show and watching these people who have been baring their souls to you all night at their most vulnerable.

That being said, all I can promise is that I won't be naked the night my dad comes to see the show.

Wow, I really didn't mean to blab on about naked theater. But hey, it's the elephant in the room, the first thing anyone who knows anything about the show usually asks a cast member.

There's music, too. To go along with the naked.