To avoid therapy maintain some connection with my creative self, i support local community theatre activities, from fundraising to management to performing. I was recently asked to assist with a production of Hair – being performed in honor of the 40th anniversary. My, how time flies when your brain is fried from acid and shrooms…
Rather than use original-esque cast members, who would now be in their 60’s, the director cast a collection of young, talented, beautiful 20-somethings (who will look nice nekkid). After a few rehearsals he realized that these lovely creatures knew exactly dick about the culture that inspired the tribal rock musical.
Calling for a character development meeting with the cast, he invited me, and several other people who were at least alive in the 60’s, to talk about the times.
ouch. i had actually considered auditioning for this one…. with the newly reconstructed Model Year 2007 Bionic Twins, i might have pulled it off…[sigh]
So there they were – beautiful, groggy (it was 10 am) and hungry for insight. The director started with a discussion of post-WWII culture, the creation of the suburbs and the seeds of dissent from the 50’s ‘beatniks’. He also pointed out that concurrently, there was a great technological boom – we’d entered the space race, putting a man on the moon in 1969.
“Allegedly”, said the beautiful boy at the end of the table (playing Woof).
[light bulb goes off over my head]
“No, that was the 80’s – the cynicism, conspiracy-theory, oliver-stone era. In the 60’s, it was idealistic – ‘we can make it better, here have a flower and mellow out…’.”
That was the magic of it all – then and now. Things were bad, but we were going to fix it! Not a clue how to do that, but it would be all right – some caring people, good music and lots of talking could change the world!
After the character development meeting, hugs all around from the tribesmen of the theater, and into my car. And a moment of sadness. When did we stop believing we could fix it? When did we stop trying? Why did we stop trying?