I am directing the musical HAIR. I am doing it with an amazing community theatre cast. I am having a great time. However, it was not my first choice, and that’s a thing for most directors. A big thing. Directors like to do shows for a reason. But, in retrospect, it was the only choice because as much as I love to laugh, I am serious. Dead serious. Too serious. Freak-cong serious. All my shows need to resonate like kick-ass crazy or I don’t see reasons to do them. And, I do a lot of shows. A lot. I’ve been lucky on the resonate-like-kick-ass-crazy thing.
But I decided, about six months ago, to do a jukebox musical; because wtf? Why not have a good time? Fun rehearsal process with awesome folk. Why not? I picked out a great one. I got myself all jived up about doing it. Annnnd, well, rights. Hmph. So then I had to look around and find another show to do. I wanted to do a rock musical and I came up with a few. I considered some other jukebox musicals. I kicked aladda cans. I hemmed and hawed. Then, I thought, why not HAIR? Well, why not HAIR? Yes, HAIR.
I have been ruminating for some time about how all the old ugly is returning. The racism, the xenophobia, the anti-feminism, the downright misogyny, the distrust of scholarship and knowledge, the fear of creativity, the fear of the different, the belief in the all mighty dollar, the materialism, the outright arrogance of all points of view, the inclination away from living for its own sake and inclination toward living to make a living. The constant living in the future and not living in the now. The lack of the holy; the inability to see the god in all of us and all things. The inability to see our place in the natural world and our subsequent responsibility to that natural world. The beauty in a simple sunrise or sunset. The dearth of wonder. (And for those of you who will get all traipsy-weird with me because I am an atheist, god is not God, it’s that thing that makes us all worthy of love and respect whatever the f that is.) I have been thinking about this for some time. Sooooooo, HAIR.
HAIR reminds us that this moment is the only moment that matters. HAIR suggests that if we free our minds from all the crazy detail and detritus of our lives, we might be free to see the god in everything around us. HAIR suggests that we are free to love anyone at any time without stricture. HAIR suggests that the person sitting beside you is as holy as you. HAIR suggests that corporate conformity, though deeply ingrained, may often be unwise. HAIR invites you to dance because dancing feels good. HAIR invites you to smile at your fellow because she or he or they is just plain gorgeous – because everyone is gorgeous. HAIR reminds us of a mindset lost in our youth. HAIR allows us to embrace the now with fullness and wonder.
This show has reminded me that art often speaks to the soul first. The mind eventually follows but the show may not initially make rational sense. Except to the heart.
So the crotchety, freak-cong serious director is darn happy. And the sweet, playful soul in all of us is happy. I’m calling this a win-win.
#onward #behererightnow #hairthemusical
HAIR is playing for a limited run at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, June 9-11. Tickets are available at jaybirdproductions.ca or by calling 647-292-0210.