2018 marks the 50th anniversary of “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” and UNC Greensboro’s School of Theatre will celebrate with its own production of the iconic counterculture rock-musical starting Sept. 25.
For many of the nearly 100 theatre students involved in the production, “Hair” has offered ample opportunities for self-expression and free-form creativity, things as definitively sixties as the musical itself.
“The show itself is very loose and free,” said Fey Jones, undergraduate theatre major and assistant costume designer. “A lot of our work has been impromptu, improvised. There’s always something new happening, and things are ever-evolving. It gives me more artistic freedom and allows me to create in the moment like I like to do.”
This freedom has allowed Fey Jones and her fellow costume designers to customize their designs to fit actors’ individual personalities and take liberties with certain costume builds. For example, Jones had the opportunity to hand-stitch an assortment of fabrics to create a pair of unique overalls for a cast member. She is also de facto “wig master” for the production, designing and maintaining both wigs and natural hair as part of the cast’s wardrobe.
For Caleb Taylor, lighting designer and MFA design student, capturing the spirit of “Hair” was a matter of thinking outside of traditional theatre lighting. Without giving away the secrets of his trade, Taylor hinted at a show that will be more spectacle, more rock show than your typical production.
“A conversation about traveling music festivals of the period and the whole counterculture vibe got me looking at concert lighting design,” Taylor said. “The show will capture the immersive quality of a music festival, where the audience is as much a part of the production as the performers.”
But how have the students, most of whom were born long after the “Age of Aquarius,” connected with the subject matter?
“My parents are of that generation, so the sixties have been an ever-present thing in my life,” said Jones, who often consulted her parents during her research of the period. “The show’s themes are constantly going to be relevant. The fight for human rights and the fight for self expression will never be completely over.”
The production will be one of UNCG’s many explorations of the 1960s over the 2018-19 academic year as part of the interdisciplinary event series “The ‘60s: Exploring the Limits.”
Performances will run from Sept. 25-30. For showtimes and tickets visit vpa.uncg.edu or call the Triad Stage Box Office at 336-272-0160.
Want a sneak peak of the show? Check out the behind-the-scenes photos below.
Story by Victor Ayala, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane and Jiyoung Park, University Communications