How to shed the clothes…

I want to preface by saying I typically don’t direct a show by consensus or committee :-). That being said, I see this website and blog as an incredible resource for discsussion alternative ways of staging parts of HAiR, particularly when I realize that many of the people who watch this blog have seen many more productions of HAiR than I and may have seen interesting creative things that would be great to try to incorporate.Â

One thing I have been wrestling with is the age-old subject of “how to shed the clothes” for the end of Where Do I Go? The Broadway production utilizing the cloth scrim which covered up the actors momentarily worked well back when I saw it, although of the five performances I saw (two in NY and three in LA), at least one time I recall it being a bit clumsy. But those are also 38-40-year old memories, prone to weakness :-).Â

Our theater is much much smaller and there may be insufficient room for people to be on stage under a scrim. Also, the tribe will be so close to the audience that it won’t have the “sweeping” impact that it did on a much bigger theater. Instead, I am concerned that it will look silly. I chatted with Tom Prokofsky after his performance at Fullerton College last Friday night and we tossed around a few ideas, but I am interested in hearing other ways people have seen it done. I have two thoughts (and I am not committed/wedded to either at this point):

1. Have the clothes removal done during the swirling dancing of the Be-in. Then as the lights change for Where Do I Go, have the performers huddle (not frontal nudity at this point) with each other. Then at the end, as the conclusion of the song occurs, have the performers turn out toward the audience.

2. Same point of time for the removal, but add a “nude” ballet/dance to Where Do I Go. I believe I saw a mention in one of the photo archives here of James Rado (or maybe it was Ragni) wanting to have a nude dance (I believe he called it “the naked dance” ;-)) during this part of the show.Â

Again keep in mind again we have a very small stage with a limited audience capacity of about 150.  The audience will be about 10 feet from the performers min/30 feet max so it will be very intimate. Where often things have to be overdone to communicate them from the stage, here it more about making sure you don’t rub their noses in at, at least when you aren’t trying to do that.

The forum is open!


Jon “bleurose” Rosen
Stagelight ProductionsÂ






This entry was posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 4:28 PM and filed under Uncategorized. Follow comments here with the RSS 2.0 feed. Skip to the end and leave a response. Trackbacks are closed.

3 Responses to “How to shed the clothes…”

  1. Anthony D'Amato said:

    Jon –

    The first time I directed the show was in a 100-seat theatre… sounds a lot like yours has been described. We did the undressing underneath the parachute, and it worked perfectly. It surprised the hell out of them, too. If it is lit correctly, it works!

    There goes the HAIR purist in me, but I wouldn’t do it any other way!

    Anthony D’Amato

  2. Anthony D'Amato said:

    (This might post twice! My bad!)

    Jon —

    The first time I directed the show was in a 100-seat theatre, much like the one you’ve seemed to describe. The momentary parachute-covering staging worked perfectly, and many of the audience were shocked! With the right lighting, it can be done perfectly.

    This might be the HAIR purist in me coming out, but I wouldn’t do it any other way!

    As for other questions and concerns, feel free to ask away!! You’ve come to the best place!

    Anthony D’Amato

  3. herbangirl said:

    I’m directing a production in Sacramento as we speak, and I’m staging the disrobing similarly to the two times I’ve performed in the show.
    Everyone is in loose robes during the Be-In. As Claude starts “Where Do I Go?” the cast turns away and kneels on the floor. At the end of the song, they open their robes, and stand up leaving the robes around their feet.
    I’ve never seen the parachute and don’t really understand it without having seen it, but it sounds neat!
    FWIW, we’re also going to be in a small, 95-seat theatre with people up close. Good luck!

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