THE MAKING OF HAIR
A true collaborative effort, set design at Santa Barbara High School combines elements of architecture, painting, engineering, and movement to create an environment that is both character and space.
The design for HAIR, by Artistic Director Otto Layman, came after many meetings with Choreographer Jenna Tico, Musical Director Jon Nathan, Costume Designer Bonnie Thor and Technical Director Jonathan Mitchell. Design in this space requires elements of scale, and our desire to work closer to the audience without a band in between led us to move the band on stage—and since the performance of the music is as important as the story, it allowed us to create a show and design that is part concert, part musical, and all rock and roll.
After the initial meeting, we began to work on the floor plan, the needs of the choreographer in terms of space and levels, and then brainstormed iconic images of the late sixties—settling on Peter Max (Yellow Submarine) and Jimi Hendrix, as well as painted VW buses and Vietnam. From those images we created a scale model, then floor plans and building plans. We also decided to paint enormous murals in the house itself. This is a record of the set for HAIR from drawing board to completion.
The impetus for the design and creation for the wall came about when we decided to move the band onstage, as an integral, visual component of HAIR. The musical plays out over multiple locations—a park in NYC; Selma, Alabama; the jungles of Vietnam; a living room; hallucinogenic trip—and moves cinematically. We wanted the materials of the Wall to reflect the urban landscape—steel and beams and rivets and brick, and graffiti-painted surfaces. We wanted the landscape to be dominated by Jimi Hendrix, Army paratrooper turned rock icon, whose all too brief life summed up the danger, excess, and freedom of a generation. The wall art is courtesy of our partnership with the Visual Arts and Design Academy, principally Amanda Weymouth, and is an 18 foot by forty foot art installation—the single largest piece constructed for a set. The Wall has texture—steel, glass, iron, fabric, and is gritty and imposing. It is part shantytown, part rock n’roll concert stage, part tribute.
Stage Left House Wall
Stage Right House Wall
Created by Costume Designer, Bonnie Thor
Created for the actors to immerse themselves in the era of "Hair," Costume Designer Bonnie Thor compled a number of mood boards that will act as a foundation for the costume design.