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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hair

Go to this show!

I love my internal clock. As I was drifting off to sleep Thursday evening, I said to myself, "I'd like to wake at 5:10."

I grabbed the clock and it was 5:10.

I went out to the kitchen and made the thermos of ice coffee and finished packing my knapsack loaded with provisions necessary when I go to join the line get tickets for that evening's entertainment at the Central Park Delacorte Theater: Hair.

I'm ready to go when the alarm goes off. I had set it for 5:20, just in case. I let it go for its one minute performance. I grabbed my bike, my folding chair, my knapsack and was off to the Delacorte via 8th Ave through Columbus Circle to Central Park West to 79th Street and onto the paths leading to the theater. I love this early morning bike ride in NYC. I arrived at 5:41. It was still dark, the sun would rise in about 20 minutes. I was at the top of the hill across from the bathrooms. Maybe 30 people back. Within a half hour, the line is woven its way to the bend where it will be going out of sight. In another half hour I'll get up and walk down around the corner to see how much further it will weave its way.

For now I need some more sleep so, I set my chair and settle in for some shuteye. Sporadic sleep blesses me. It is a pleasant morning and crowd. To my left and to my right are people sleeping in line to pick up two tickets to sell later that day. I know this because as they wake there is a whole posse obtaining these tickets . They are walking around discussing where to go to sell the tickets and what to ask for them. Besides getting tickets for a good show I'm getting great drama while waiting. I read some, I watch lots, I rest some. I order a couple of BLT's from the local Deli that delivers anywhere.

I need to take a stroll and survey the line. I head off to the Delacorte where the seniors wait on benches. I exchange greetings and turn my attention to the posters on the walls and in the theater shop before turning from the Delacorte towards the end of the line.


"Ted!"
I turn.
"Ted, the teacher?"
"Glenn! How are you?" I ask when I see a former student about 10 places ahead of me in line.
I discover he is acting downtown, knows some of the players tonight. We spend some time chatting it up, sharing stories, then resume our lives. Later we see each other before the production, during the production, and after the production.

I continue my walk down around the corner. The line goes on forever. I walk up to the crest to see the line continue up to the playground. That is usually the "no more getting in" spot. People are still milling around at that spot, the decision point of whether to stay or go and swear you'll get up earlier tomorrow. I turn from this drama and return to my chair and that stage.




We are told to clean up our area, gather our stuff, pack it away, and begin to form a line. As the line collapses, I am at the top of the hill, just across the path from the tickets. We have been watching rain clouds pass over, while some in line are getting calls about the rain. What rain? I get my tickets, and jump on the bike and start pedaling to get home. As I get on the Central Park Drive, I feel raindrops. It starts to get heavy, so I pull over, don a poncho and open an umbrella to cover us, me and the bike. A fifteen minute downpour. When it stops as suddenly as it began steam starts rising from the streets after the cold rain hit the hot streets of NYC. This is why they call NYC a jungle. I get home in 15 minutes and no sooner am I in the house, then it rains again. This is good for the garden. Let's hope this passes for tonight's entertainment.

The rain stops about 6 pm as the sun shines brightly.

Let the sun shine in, let he sunshine in...

This will be the third time I have seen it live. The first time was before I went to Vietnam, the second was when I returned, and now 40 years later. I wonder how close to the day when I first saw it. This is a fabulous interactive production. The tribe grows from the audience to perform on a grassy stage with a band in the band shell. The climax has an all audience finale that will give you goose bumps. It doesn't matter whether you were alive when the original played or not, you'll get goose bumps. I want to be outside one night to hear the show. I loved it. Sure it is dated, brotherly love, school sucks, love, hair, and the like. What the hay. Oskar Eustis, the Artistic Director, introduced the production. He explained the beginnings of the Delacorte , 54 years ago, and Hair, 41 years ago. He mentioned the draft card burning scene, because many in the audience, young and foreign, might not understand the draft, hence the comment to the significance of the burning of the draft cards scene. Yes, there was some nudity and more interaction with the audience. We should have had swivel seats. The relevancy of protesting a war was not missed. Maybe the 68-48 duet needs some dusting off for 68-08 duet. Loved what he said about using cameras.

The audience, the tribe were ready for the final song. We were thunderous. Did you hear us?

Our finale was the culmination of that tryst created all night between the tribe and audience: "a love in" on stage as the audience, after being invited, flooded the stage to interact with the tribe. What a beautiful love in on stage and in the seats, everywhere.

YIP YIP YIP YIPPEE.

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