‘Hair’ not a let down
summit daily news
Love is flowing freely – and I mean really freely – at the Lake Dillon Theatre this summer.
From the minute you walk in, bare-chested, flower-adorned hippies mill about, offering peace, love (and if it were decriminalized in Dillon, pot) to anyone and everyone. And throughout the show, they don’t keep their hands (or hair) to themselves, preferring to run their fingers through random audience members’ hair or otherwise invite unknown friends into their love fest.
“We want to make ‘Hair’ an experience, and not just a production,” said artistic director Chris Alleman.
And so they do.
Priscilla Fernandez hooks audiences into the Age of Aquarius from the start with her strong, clear vocals. Meanwhile, the “tribe” transforms the little theater into a dynamic concert reminiscent of an energetic Dead show, complete with spectacular lighting, drums and piano.
The sexually-charged dropouts irreverently sing about sex (spewing perhaps every sexual term contained in the English language), drugs (“LSD, opium, cigarettes, alcohol, peyote” and a whole list of chemicals that, unless you lived ’em, you probably won’t recognize ’em) and war (and you thought I might say “rock ‘n’ roll,” but that’d be redundant, as rock oozes out of every pore that reverberates throughout the show).
But not everything in the world of “Hair” is full of the harmony that tunes like “Let the Sunshine In” and “Good Morning Starshine” usher in. When Claude (Travis Slavin) gets drafted, he’s faced with burning his card, like everyone else does in a powerful scene, or manning up. During Act Two, Claude’s violently confused, laughable and terrifying hallucination becomes your hallucination – especially if you’re one of the few audience members actors target to put their hands over your eyes and whisper aggressively into your ear (I can’t tell you what they whisper, as I was ever-so-slightly traumatized by the experience, seeing my dad actually did get drafted).
Again, if you’re not comfortable with free love and dropping acid and all that comes with it, you might end up having a bad ‘Hair’ day. But if you believe in love – and all the tie-dye, leather fringes, beads and out-of-sight headbands that go along with it, “Hair” will transport you to a world full of gyrating daisies, freedom and wide-eyed wonder. Alleman and his crew do an astounding job creating a vivid, visceral and unforgettable theater experience.
My advice: Let your hair down and go with the flow, man. And don’t call 911 when about a dozen actors strip off every thread of their paisley and plaid clothing – just enjoy the groovy scenery.
Editor’s note: Yes, a patron really did call 911 when an actor quickly took off his pants in “The Little Dog Laughed.” Look for the story about how Lake Dillon Theatre is pushing boundaries – and how audiences are responding – in a future Scene article.
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