October 24, 2012 was the 45 anniversary of the off-Broadway New York debut of the hit musical Hair. Olivia was going to play a supporting role in the revival production which was in its final rehearsal at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. This was a major break for Olivia, a 19 year old dancer and singer who had only appeared in amateur productions before.
Olivia was so nervous about her lines; not the script but the stripped. Her figure might be called wispy if one were being polite, scrawny if being cruel. Either way, Olivia was esteem-deprived and self-conscious about how she would look in that famous scene at the end of Act II when the entire cast appears at the front of the stage apron totally naked, arms extended out and up ( no covering the sexy parts ) and making a statement to the audience, the world and most importantly, the press.
What also worried Olivia was the fact that she had been a last minute substitute, plucked from the OLT by the director who caught her amateur production a month ago, was impressed enough to cast her as an understudy. Illness of another actress at just the wrong time put Olivia in the role on opening night. She had not even completed all her ACTRA waivers, union application or anything.
HAIR had seen several revivals over the years and, of course, it had been made into a movie and fabulous sound track way back when. So any audience over the age of 20 would know the plot, scores, songs and movements and expect a quality performance. But 45 years is a long time to pass for a drama which played out to a very different world and time. What if the new angles the writers had given it didn't live up to the hype of an older art?
Olivia need not worry. The old folks in the audience would see what they remembered. The younger crowd would be there to see a line of naked young men and women. And that thought brought her back to her main worry, her naked body in all its floodlit glory on display for all the world, live, naked and standing there for a full 30 seconds, utterly exposed and, to her mind, completely humiliated. Such was her lack of self-esteem about her body.
Was it no wonder at the end of Act I before a packed opening night house that Olivia was too distracted to pay attention to the buzz backstage? She had not filled out all her papers yet and the management only had an e-mail address she'd not used in weeks. So, unlike the rest of the cast, Olivia was unaware of a last-minute change in the script; the change, as per protocol, was delivered via urgent e-mail.
.... There is more of this story ...