[Unknown author's comments and analysis:]
The least known and most mysterious part of the hippie world runs through the whole musical HAIR; the mysticism and symbolism of Aquarius. Aquarius is called upon in the opening scene of the musical. This call is an indication of the mystical world consciousness that the hippies possess and that summons in the equivalence of the Age of Aquarius with the age of peace, love, and positive use of sociological and scientific studies.
The hippies, representative for all people and to be taken as an example for them, have checked the traditional ideas and ways of life and have freed themselves from the ordered narrowness of life. Their uppermost ideal is the happiness and health of mankind (inventors of "granola", promoters of "organic, pesticide-free food", practitioners of meditation, explorations of various types of body work, etc.). The hippies do not accept any responsibility towards the state or the moral code but do accept the responsibility for those people who are helpless against the impersonal power of the state.
A person can only be free if he starts to deal with himself first, as emphasized in East Asian religious philosophy, if he realizes that all of nature is God and that he himself is a part of nature: free in his thoughts and decisions and only responsible for the happiness that makes him a human being. A person born under the sign of Aquarius receives a dominating role in this new age in which the harmony of the world and the definition of freedom is reorganized based on an understanding of a pantheic god.
Claude Hooper Bukowski's birth sign is Aquarius and he is the main figure in the musical, damned to genius or madness. He suffers the terrible fate of a prophet of a new, misunderstood and denied way of thought. Claude is torn between the polar forces: between the genius that is freedom, which is the true life in him, and the madness that rages around him and challenges him. Claude is however also responsible for his own fate. As he appears in uniform at the end of the play amongst his friends and remains invisible to them, he suffers a symbolic death that is a direct consequence of his actions. Claude is a plastic hippie who still respects the reality of his surroundings and the existing society too much. He sees the necessity of change that would break with the current state of things today, but he cannot put it into action. He is intelligent, reflects on the symptoms of the time, hesitates with important decisions -- he is Hamlet's hippie brother.
The difficulties of realizing the ideal of a new order are shown clearly in Claude's character, a personification of the Aquarius myth. Berger, the hippie leader, is Claude's mate and opponent. He personifies the hippies' ideal and has successfully detached himself from the demands of his surroundings. His personality is marked by a radical emotionally influenced attitude toward the bourgeois way of life that he lives in conflict with. When Berger compares himself ironically to Lucifer in one song, it is easy to recognize the opinion that that hippie leader is compatible with the despiser and destroyer of the so-called straight world. Berger is the constrast to Claude, the hipster, who can only free himself from the traditional way of thinking with difficulty. However Berger tries hard to include Claude in the communal life of the hippes and to integrate him as a member of the group.
The result of these attempts is that they both live together with Hud, a member of the Black Flower Power movement, and of course with Sheila, who, although she has a liking for Claude, feels herself more attracted to Berger.
Claude is the leader of the group together with Berger. However he shows that he cannot handle the expectations of the hippie way of life and society when he doesn't burn his military service papers at the be-in. His fear of society culminates in a horrifying LSD trip, where he experiences the history of America in an hallucation projected from the time of the American war of independence up to the present day. This vision shows him the continuous wars and the never-ending cruelty amonst people. Politics are only indirectly important in this scene. More important is the demonstration of the alienation of the society from the ideals of the humane world. After the experience of this trip, Claude tries to escape from the world in a way that is unpractical as far as the hippies are concerned. Claude proves however that he is a victim of his weakness toward society. His wish to become invisible and to perform miracles is fulfilled in a contrary way in the closing scene. On a Vietnam battlefield he lays down his rifle for all to see, and he suffers a sacrificial death while remaining invisible to the hippies. His accusing and throught-provoking song is picked up by the Tribe, who then take the ideas even futher and invite the audience to recognize tolerance, love and freedom as the highest aims.
"Singing our space songs on
A Spider web sitar
Life is around you and in you...
Let the sun shine in."
In the musical HAIR, youth protests against war and military service, against intolerance, brutality and the dehumanization of society. The hippie existence is shown as a possible alternate way of life in which love, happiness and freedom dominate. When hippies give their opponents and enemies flowers, they are hoping for the positive result of this gentle gesture. And so it is correct to give their ways the name "flower power."
HAIR is a serious play. The cheerful scenes, especially in the first half, reflect the happy way of life the hippies lead. The jokes and ironic comments are a subliminally effective method of showing up society.
The authors intend to give an impulse to rethink and test validity of the traditional values for the current age.