[In NY for a few days]
What I love (and hate) about theater is that it’s such a rollercoaster. In so many ways – it’s not that you go up, down up, and down again, it’s that you’re really just along for the ride. When the director wants you to cheer, you’ll cheer. When he wants you to cry you’ll cry. And when he’s done with you, he’ll dump you off, back on the street as drained or exhilarated as he wants.
Just saw “Hair” on Broadway, strapped in on the rollercoaster from the 5th row. I laughed. I winced. I cheered. I cried. And I took it in as the an all-consuming sensory overload of life it was written to portray.
At the end of the show, after we know that Claude is really dead, and that the joy and promise and energy and youth and life of “The Tribe” at the opening curtain has come down to this inevitability, there was darkness and stunned silence. The cast took their bows, then in defiance of this bitter conclusion, rose from the ashes they they had become into a joyful chorus of “Let the Sun Shine In”. They started hauling audience members up on the stage to dance. I danced with wild abandon. And with “Sheila” and with “Chrissy”, and with the crazy guy who looked like Hendrix. I sang, audaciously, hand in hand with Chrissy, at the top of my lungs. I may have even hit the harmony right for once, but it didn’t matter. There was light and music and tears and laughter everywhere, the emotional release of a psychadelic wake spinning out onto the street that said: We know how this story ends. We know, in a way, how all stories end. And yet we live, and we sing, and love and dance, because it is what we are here for. It is, in a way, just What We Are. And we are here. Now.
Somewhere in noise of it all, I had the urge to capture a moment of this fleeting craziness; the crappy cam on my phone couldn’t capture the image, but maybe it captured the spirit. I dunno. What astounds me is that the cast does this every night. It’s group therapy and catharsis for an entire generation. I can’t imagine how they have the energy, but God, it’s got to feel good to be able to make people feel like that.