Tel Aviv - They did Hair in Hebrew the other day at Ayelet Hashahar, a kibbutz 27 miles north of Jesus's home town, and it was a bomb.
True, the audience, made up mostly of folk from nearby Kibbutzim, applauded. But their applause can be described best in that vilest of words concerning theatrical receptions: It was "polite".
After the performance, the kibbutz kids were invited to join the Israeli troupe for the usual on-stage rock session. Only a handful, perhaps eight or ten, responded. The rest of the customers filed out of the theater quietly.
The songs of Hair apparently translate easily into Hebrew. "Happy birthday Abie baby, happy birthday to you" translated into: "Birkhotenu, Ebi-baby, yom holedet lekha!"
Some of the words came out a little funny to an American ear. Donna, the girl who values her lost boyfriend at more than $2 became "Dough-nah". And from somewhere on stage came an occasional "ay-yi-yi."
But, in Hebrew, the words were all there, cast members insisted.
Performers for the "official" troupe were mostly Israeli kids from Tel Aviv, the country's New York. There were, however, a couple of show-case English speaking blacks who learned Hebrew by living in Kibbutzim.
But why did Hair bomb out just 27 miles north of Nazareth? Well, this probably is not related to the growing stateside belief that the so-called tribal rock festival already has lost its meaning to young Americans.
Rather, it's a good guess that Hair never could have meant anything to Kibbutz kids (or other youngsters of Israel) because they are flag waving straight, know nothing about drugs and are reputed to be so unhung-up about sex that the on-stage gyrations could only be grotesque to them.
Copyright The Chicago Daily News.