INTERVIEW: Musical 'HAIR' will have you dancing in the aisles
Mention the 60’s classic musical HAIR and inevitably someone will start singing break-out hit ‘Aquarius’ – a musical call to new agers everywhere. In the original staging of this well-known musical astrology was not merely something to sing about, but an integral part of production. An astrologist was hired to consult not only on casting, but on the best opening dates for the shows - and it looks like she got it right at least some of the time. The opening dates she disapproved of in Chicago resulted in the show being shut down after one night, while the dates she selected for the HAIR opening in New York brought longevity to its run and 'a reputation for being about sexuality'. This reputation has lingered – ask people about HAIR and inevitably they will mention the brief nude scene of the second act.
It’s not all hippy culture and free love though - HAIR deals with themes of pacifism and eco-consciousness, both of which are incredibly relevant to the world we live in. Featuring a diverse group of young people trying to live by their values in an increasingly noisy world, HAIR is about the tribes we come to identify with. Bec Bowman caught up with star Stefanie Caccamo – and former Perthite - to chat about her role in HAIR, and what she thinks of the nudity and the tribe.
IN: You studied at WAAPA and know our town pretty well. What do you miss most about living in Perth?
SC: I miss the beautiful weather and the calm, relaxed buzz of the city in comparison to the East Coast! I regularly enjoyed the abundance of cafes and restaurants along Beaufort Street! But a place is really only as good as the people in it so I’d say I miss the wonderful people I studied with and learnt from at WAAPA.
IN: How does it feel now to be part of this massive touring musical?
SC: The show is shaping up to be pretty special. We’re currently in our second week of rehearsals and ‘huge’ is a great word to describe Adam Gardnir’s set design and Amy Campbell’s choreography – it’s pretty exciting! I’m thrilled and honoured to be touring the production regionally as well as in my home town at the Sydney Opera House.
IN: Tell us a little bit about the character you are playing.
SC: Crissy is one of the younger members of the Tribe, extremely sweet and endearing. She has an infatuation with a young man, Frank Mills, whom she meets once outside the Waverly Theatre and insists on waiting around for his return.
Crissy, along with the rest of tribe, represent the empowerment of youth in an era fuelled by the passion for peace and love against war. Although she may not fully understand the severity of the world around her, she has found a family in this tribe and the idea her family being ‘drafted’ fuels her endeavour to fight for peace and love!
IN: Do you have a pre-show routine? Can you tell us about it?
SC: I make sure to get moving and stretch my entire body before I begin to warm up my voice. I like to sip on honey tea or other warm drinks to keep my throat warm beforehand and throughout the show. My favourite thing before a show is grouping together with the cast and wishing everyone ‘chookas’ (‘good luck’) before we start.
When it first came out, HAIR was infamous for its nudity. In 2019 we are a bit more blasé about showing a bit of flesh - so what keeps HAIR relevant for today’s audience?
SC: HAIR is so much more than its brief nude scene at end of Act I. I think it’s important to pay homage to the lengths that protestors went to, however, the show is immensely rich in political and social statements. Although the show is set in the 1960’s, I think our audiences will be able to make connections to our current social and political climate and ask themselves, what has really changed? Can we do better?