An extract on #gnelekesi
The theme of opposition to the war that pervades the show is unified by the plot thread that progresses through the book Claude's moral dilemma over whether to burn his draft card. Pacifism is explored throughout the extended trip sequence in Act 2. The lyrics to "Three-Five-Zero-Zero", which is sung during that sequence, evoke the horrors of war ("ripped open by metal explosion"). The song is based on Allen Ginsberg's 1966 poem, "Wichita Vortex Sutra". In the poem, General Maxwell Taylor proudly reports to the press the number of enemy soldiers killed in one month, repeating it digit by digit, for effect: "Three-Five-Zero-Zero." The song begins with images of death and dying and turns into a manic dance number, echoing Maxwell's glee at reporting the enemy casualties, as the tribe chants "Take weapons up and begin to kill". The song also includes the repeated phrase "Prisoners in niggertown/ It's a dirty little war".
"Don't Put It Down" satirizes the unexamined patriotism of people who are literally "crazy" for the American flag. "Be In (Hare Krishna)" praises the peace movement and events like the San Francisco and Central Park Be-Ins. Throughout the show, the tribe chants popular protest slogans like "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!" and "Do not enter the induction center". The upbeat song, "Let the Sun Shine In", is a call to action, to reject the darkness of war and change the world for the better.
Hair also aims its satire at the pollution caused by our civilization. Jeanie appears from a trap door in the stage wearing a gas mask and then sings the song "Air": "Welcome, sulfur dioxide. Hello carbon monoxide. The air ... is everywhere". She suggests that pollution will eventually kill her, "vapor and fume at the stone of my tomb, breathing like a sullen perfume". In a comic, pro-green vein, when Woof introduces himself, he explains that he "grows things" like "beets, and corn ... and sweet peas" and that he "loves the flowers and the fuzz and the trees".
In his introduction to the published script of Viet Rock, Richard Schechner says, "performance, action, and event are the key terms of our theatre and these terms are not literary." In the 1950s, Off-off Broadway theaters began experimenting with non-traditional theater roles, blurring the lines between playwright, director, and actor. The playwright's job was not just to put words on a page, but to create a theatrical experience based on a central idea. By 1967, theaters such as The Living Theatre, La MaMa E.T.C. and The Open Theatre were actively devising plays from improvisational scenes crafted in the rehearsal space, rather than following a traditional script.