16 November 2011

Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n Roll

In the department of better late than never, I’m here to report that we took the girl to her first Broadway show last summer. I’m only telling you this because 1) it was one of the infernal posts-in-draft, and 2) Mom-101 took her kids to see Godspell, where they found Jesus.

Hair, the original production, the real thing, opened on Broadway in 1968. It was a big hit, and my parents went to see it, twice. We had the “original cast album”, which we played all the time, singing songs like Sodomy. And even though I was in elementary school at the time, I was crushed that they wouldn’t take me to see it.

Hair finally got revived a couple of years ago – first in Central Park, then on Broadway, then it went off on tour. It came back to New York for a limited run this summer, and I thought it was time to take the girl – and to finally see it myself.

Y’all know that there’s nudity in it, right?

In the lobby where we were picking up the tickets, there was a tasteful sign:

There is a dimly lit
20-second scene with nudity
that is non-sexual in nature.

Dimly-lit. 20 seconds. Non-sexual. NUDITY.

The ticket taker looked at the seven year old, and said to me, “you know there’s nudity in this show?”

I shrugged. 20 seconds of dimly-lit non-sexual nudity? Please.

We sat down and watched the show. The girl was riveted. Agog. Delighted. Thrilled to take home the daisies and handbills passed through the aisles by the flower children. And yes, fascinated by the 20 seconds of dimly-lit non-sexual nudity. "Look! It’s Berger’s penis!"

Me, I was a little taken aback by the ample amounts of sex and drugs in the show. Mind you, I’m not a prude, but she was seven and sex, drugs? Frankly, that’s what should be on the sign out front:

This show includes
simulated fornication,
feigned pot smoking, and
20 seconds of dimly-lit,
non-sexual nudity.

The kid seemed unfazed; I think most of it just went over her head. We bought her a peace sign t-shirt at intermission, and danced on stage at the end holding hands with Jeanie, and I’m really happy that we went.


Amanda said...

Coming from a theatre background, I've always been shocked by what people think crosses the line. Violence=ok, profanity=not ok. Sex=fine, Nudity=not fine

She Curmudgeon said...

Americans' prudishness really knows no bounds. It's shocking. I was trying to describe a book to someone (the book was Lolita) and "inappropriate relationship" was the euphemism I was trying to stick with but this person was as ignorant as a rock and kept pressing. So I just came out and said (to the mid-50s woman) "The male character in the book is interested in a sexual manner in the under-age girl who's the title character." It was like I'd knifed her and then ran over her puppy, she was that offended that I'd used the word sex.

Basic cultural literacy and an ability to withstand basic emotional papercuts, people. Get some.

Also, use lists and write shit down before you come to the bookstore.

/end rant.

I'm so glad the girl liked the play. It's one of my favorites. Here's to a long career of going to musicals and shows together, all with "inappropriate" content that you can discuss and have mature conversations about, because you're just that cool.

Bibliomama said...

I'm a little confused about how you were taken aback by the amount of sex and drugs in the show if you'd listened to it (Sodomy?) and knew that it was about hippies. I do think it goes over most kids' heads. I was at Starbucks with three other dance Moms and one 4yo dance sister, and one Mom spilled really hot coffee on her hand while sitting down and said Fuck four times before realizing the 4yo was there and trying to recover - the 4yo was totally oblivious.

Mom101 said...

Actually in light of Godspell, I've been playing the kids Hair videos on YouTube. Oops. I know what you're going through.

You make such a brilliant point that we're so caught up in nudity (oh noes! not a penis!) that we forget that maybe there are other issues that are tougher to explain away than human anatomy.

PS Godel Escher Bach was one of my favorite college books. Still have it. Mostly just remember the fables about the tortoise.

Julia said...

I went to the original, and was very interested to see the nude scene and somehow, in the midst of all the excitement I MISSED IT.

The rest, eh, I lived on a college campus at the time. We had kids living in various states of recovery from freak-out in our house all the time. I wrote my college application essay about marching on City Hall to protest the invasion of Cambodia. There was plenty of sex and drugs and rock'n'roll all around. It never occurred to me that that had anything to do with *me*.

Frogs in my formula said...

I'm unfamiliar with the production (does that mean I live under a rock?). But I can completely understand your desire to have the specifics disclosed. Like, it would have been nice to have had a disclaimer on the Cars 2 DVD: LOTS of violence, some torture and senseless James Bond plot. Sorry, that's where I'm at right now. Not penises, cars.

Harriet said...

People are forever warning us about the wrong things. Frankly, these days we need warnings for the adds that appear during sporting events.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

When Titanic was huge I asked people about taking my 8-year old son who REALLY wanted to see it. Everybody warned me about the sex scene in the care (whatever), but nobody mentioned the frozen, dead bodies floating in the ocean.

Priorities, I guess.

painted maypole said...

i watched the movie recently. i've never seen it live.

MDTaz said...

When this show was first produced, my parents must have gone, or else somebody gave them a recording (an LP - I can still picture the cover art!) of the musical. I remember listening to it over and over and learning the words to every single song. I didn't know what sodomy and fellatio were, but I could belt out that song like nobody's business. (I can still sing you, pretty much word-for-word, the entire soundtrack.)

Kizz said...

I'm an actress and I still get this jittery kind of excitement every time I sit in a Broadway seat waiting for the curtain to go up. The picture of the two of you up on stage dancing with one of the actors at her FIRST show made me weep with joy. That's an awesome experience, with or without Berger's penis.