Written by Alina Mae Wilson
Tonight I had my first experience with Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical at the Mysterium Theater in Santa Ana.
Yes, that is correct, my first time seeing this iconic musical known for naked-singing hippies, and I chose to see it in a little chapel. There were multiple technical problems, but the zeal of the people on stage balanced it out a bit.
The Mysterium Theater is a small building that resides on the same property as a church. If you have never been there before, you should remember that you won’t see a sign for the theater. You need to look for a “Church of the Foothills” sign. Once you park and walk onto the property, it will be very easy to find.
Right from the beginning, the cast made their intent to be fun and interactive clear. From running and passing out flowers to gazing dumbfounded into space, the performers spent a good ten minutes gamboling around and treating us to every stereotypical hippy trait known to the world. Psychedelic man. This was actually quite amusing until it wasn’t. It dragged…so…sooo….muuuuuuuch. This pretty much set the tone for all of the group numbers. With limited stage space and a large number of actors, they spent most of their time writhing in mass. Rather than feel like I was getting a glimpse into humanity, I was annoyed with the blocking. This was not helped by the sound issues. Only certain people were fitted with microphones (though stage ones hung from above). There were times when I had difficulty understanding the lyrics, despite the cast’s energy. It was rather like watching an enthusiastically done high school play. Although I experienced sparks of interest here and there, I spent much of the first act fidgeting and bored. HOWEVER…
The second act was better. The character interaction was well done throughout the entire thing, but blocking suddenly became more tolerable in part two. Whether or not this is because the actual script allows more room for creativity here is up to the individual viewer to decide. I will mention that the hallucination sequence was the chosen high point of the affair. I was taken entirely into the fun of it all. Speaking of fun, for every performance I go to, I hope there is something that stands out. Tonight that something came in the form of ensemble cast member Zoe-Raven Stevens. I cannot think of any way she could have been more present or entertaining. I had to force my eyes off her to ensure I was seeing everything else. Well done.
Overall, it was an ok production. I wasn’t interested in Hair before, and I’m still not. And it really is not worth the 30 dollars at the door. But if you are already a fan of the show or have an older relative who might like an acid trip down memory lane, I recommend going just for fun.
The ticket price is $25.00 per ticket online and $30.00 at the door.
Ticket info at the website :
Location & Dates :
19211 Dodge Ave Santa Ana, CA
August 29th through September 20th.
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