BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia, where the scars of war and passions of an anti-establishment movement are still fresh, will stage the musical “Hair” for the first time in 40 years, updating the story amid the Iraq war and anti-globalism.
First staged in New York in 1968, the rock musical built an international following, with Belgrade mounting its own production in communist Yugoslavia in 1969.
In the updated “Hair” opening on Wednesday (“Kosa” in Serbian), the main character is a philosophy professor engaged in anti-globalist action against the backdrop of an international summit rather than the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
“The problems are all the same all over again,” said lead actor Sergej Trifunovic, who has had roles in many Serbian films as well as international productions such as “War, Inc.”
“They had Vietnam going on over there, now we have Iraq, we have Afghanistan knocking at our door,” he told Reuters on Monday.
The songs are in Serbian, which means the cast will be calling for “Daj nam Sunca” rather than “Let the Sun Shine In.” But in a sign of the times in the age of AIDS, the nudity that represented the sexual revolution of the 1960s in the original production has been removed for the new staging.
After fighting a series of wars that marked the demise of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serbia drove out strongman Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 after a series of public protests.
Reporting by Jaksa Scekic, writing by Adam Tanner, editing by Paul Casciato