By Jeanné McCartin
The first take-away from Seacoast Rep’s Second Stage production of “Hair” is its voices. Great voices. The second is energy – a bounty of kinetic, muscular, artistic movement that sweeps you along, and lands this half-century old play in the present.
“Hair” is a musical about a tribe of free-range, sexually liberated, political activist teens, living in New York during the tumultuous ’60s, book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, music by Galt MacDermot. It was a shocker when staged in 1967; less so now. Lots has transpired since then that’s smoothed its edge, including a continuation of many of the issues the show railed against.
At that time, the country was being torn apart by the Vietnam War, the draft, racism, sexual liberation, the drug culture, and other social issues. The problems and conflicts were perfect tinder for the rebellious, mistrusting, angst-ridden, and thoughtful youth who were swept along by it all.
“Hair” is also a celebration of the teens’ passion for life, as well as their struggle to come to terms with who they are and how they fit in. They hang out, experiment, and protest the war; some burn draft cards. And all are fairly insecure, unsure what the future holds.
Claude, friend to Berger, the tribe’s leader, and Sheila, its most proactive member, has been called up. The quandary is quite real: to go, or burn the card and make his way to Canada.
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