Capelli (un’opera buffa)

Hair The Musical

When the Moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius … Aquarius … Aquarius

[It is the summer of 1970, in Chicago. Bettina, a hippie, is 18. She is in a public park, picking flowers and leaves, and weaving them into a ring-crown for her long hair. She is barefoot, wearing only hip-hugger, bell-bottom jeans and a makeshift halter top made from a tie-dyed silk scarf.]

BETTINA [to audience]:
Once there was a fifteen year old virgin. She was Bettina. Now I am Bettina, a psychedelic urchin, back in Chicago three years later, looking for Bettina. Have you seen her? A story says she got busted. Another story says she saw the light. I am she, reincarnated in me. I am evolving.

Cannibis … LSD … opium …

I am evolving.

Sex … drugs … rock-and-roll …

Flowers … trees … sun and moon …

You don’t believe in God, but She believes in you.

I want to know life on Earth. Lay my head at Her feet. Make love to Her, and She to me.
I am evolving, I am evolving, I am evolving.

[Ragazzo, a handsome Italian-American man of 21, enters the park. He is stylish in a conventional way; he is not a hippie. He has long, dark hair in a shag. He is wearing white polyester bell-bottom slacks, white platform shoes, a colorful polyester shirt that is open to mid-chest, and a gold medallion. He recognizes Bettina.]

Bettina! I can’t believe my eyes!

Ragazzo! I never expected to see you here.

The goddess of love must have brought you here to me. You are so beautiful! I want to be your lover!

Wouldn’t you like to, uh … talk some?

Eh, bella! Forgive me!

Your English sounds good. I would hardly know you’re from Italy now.

Grazie. And what will you tell me about yourself, stellina?

She’s got no home
She’s got no shoes
She’s got no money
She’s got no bed
She’s got no pot
She’s got no faith

I believe in love!

She’s got no mother
She’s got no culture
She’s got no schoolin’
She’s got no underwear
She’s got no soap
She’s got no mind

I want peace!

She’s got no smokes
She’s got no job
She’s got no coins
She’s got no man
She’s got no ticket
She’s got no God

I want freedom!

Love, peace, and freedom! Ah, bella, let’s make love!

I dig you too, Ragazzo. But … what about you? What’s your life like now?

I live with Mama and Papa, of course. When I’m not at university, that is. Like now, on summer break. They want me to become a real American. Get a good career, you know. I have to stay in school, or they’ll cut me off. What would I do if they didn’t support me? I might be forced to go into the army!

No! Tell them you have to have … Life! Laughs! Freedom! Good times and bad times! Just to be you!

Well …

Look at me, man. I was expelled from high school hell, banished forever to heaven. Lucifer and me, we’ve seen the light, man. Don’t be afraid to fall. You can fly!

Well …

Whatever you do, don’t let them put you in the army. Don’t let them make a killer out of you. And baby, don’t let them cut your hair!

Give me a head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining gleaming streaming
Flaxen waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere, daddy daddy

Hair! Hair!
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
Hair! Hair! Hair! Hair!

Be free! No guilt! Be whoever you are, do whatever you want, just as long as you don’t hurt anyone. Right?

I want to make love to you, Bettina.

Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not. Tonight, I’m going to see Carla.

[Bettina is with Carla in the recreation room of Carla’s parents’ house. The television is on, without sound.]

BETTINA [to audience]:
Once there was a thirteen year old virgin. She was Bettina, the new girl in town. Longing to make friends with girls who seemed to be foes, like Carla. Now I am Bettina, a psychedelic urchin, back in Chicago these years later, looking for these girls. Have you seen them? A story says they never cared for her. Another story says she still cares for them. I am she, reincarnated in me. I am evolving.

How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold

How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

And don’t you wonder how long we can take it
The way we play and make fun of each other
Are we just pretenders in a world we made
Where’s the heart of you and me
I need a friend

Well, Carla, I never thought I would be here with you like this.

I’m evolving. You’re evolving. We’re evolving.

Speaking of which … wanna drop some acid?

[Bettina and Carla both swallow a paper-blotter of LSD. They turn to watch the television, which has gone to the test pattern shown after the last show has broadcast for the night. Carla changes the channel to show static. They watch the static as they hallucinate, by turns laughing uproariously, awe-stricken, and entertained by the colors and patterns they see.]

Tune in … tune in …
Be in … be in …
Drop out … drop out …

Take trips, get high
Laugh, joke, and good-bye
Love … love … love … love

My body is walking in space
My soul is in orbit
With God, face to face

Floating, flipping
Flying, tripping

Our eyes are open
Our eyes are open
Wide … wide … wide … wide

[In the early morning, Bettina and Carla embrace. Bettina walks out into the night, just before dawn.]

Good morning starshine
The earth says hello
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below

Good morning starshine
The universe rings
With milky way music
Our blue planet sings

Good morning starshine
We’re happy and strong
We send you love from above
Our early morning singing song

[That night, Bettina and Ragazzo are in his mother’s car, a large station-wagon, parked in a secluded location, making out.]

Oh, stellina, make love to me now!

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a car my bed, but I think we can work something out. But only because you’re making me crazy.

White boys give me goose bumps
White boys give me chills
When they touch my shoulder
That’s the touch that kills

White boys are so groovy
White boys are so tough
Every time they’re near me
Just can’t get enough

White boys are so pretty
White boys are so sweet
White boys drive me crazy
Drive me indiscreet

POLICEMAN [knocking on steamed-up car window]:
Okay, you two, move along.

Fuck! What are we going to do now?

It’s okay, I’ve got a plan.

[Ragazzo drives to his parents’ house, turns the headlights off, and quietly parks the car in their garage. He and Bettina put down the back seats and get into the bed of the station-wagon to make love.]

RAGAZZO [tearing his clothes off]:
This will be the bed of our love, stellina!

BETTINA [tearing her clothes off]:
Oh, the bed! Mmm, the bed! I love the bed!

You can rock in bed
You can roll in bed
Find your cock in bed
Lose your soul in bed
But never never never never
Never can you sin in bed

[Suddenly the garage door swings open and a bright light turns on. It is Ragazzo’s mother, screaming at him in Italian. Ragazzo throws his shirt over Bettina’s face so that his mother will not recognize her. Bettina doesn’t move, her legs still around Ragazzo and her feet in the air.]

RAGAZZO [in Italian]:
But, Mama! Mama, please! It’s only natural!

[Bettina and Ragazzo are sitting together at the counter of an all-night doughnut shop. He is holding his head in his hands; her hand is on his back to comfort him.]

Oh, Bettina, what will I do? Mama told me that, when Papa gets home from his trip, he will kill me! I’m dead! I’m as good as dead already!

But, Ragazzo, you don’t have to believe what they say about making love. How dare they try to end this beauty? It’s only natural, you said it yourself, didn’t you? And besides, whatever she said, your father is not going to kill you.

RAGAZZO [gathering himself]:
Maybe you’re right. How about if I say this to him: I’ll say, Papa, I mean no disrespect to you and Mama. But I’m a healthy young man, and it’s only natural. The young lady was beautiful, and she was willing, and it’s not a sin!

Of course it’s not a sin, Ragazzo!

I’ll say, Papa, be reasonable!

You can’t let them restrict you like this; you have to claim your freedom.

Like it or not, they’ve got me for now. There’s nothing I can do, Bettina, but throw myself on their mercy. You’re free, but I’m not. I’m different than you.

Maybe, maybe not. But don’t worry, Ragazzo. Let the sunshine in, and you’ll be fine.

Let the sunshine in. Yes, thank you, Bettina. I will let the sunshine in!

[Day breaks, and the bright sun rises.]

Okay, Ragazzo, I’ve gotta split.

Where are you going?

I’m hitch-hiking to Detroit. My friend there got me a ticket to see that musical about hippies.



How I love my hippie life
What a far out trip
In my heart is love for others
All my sisters and my brothers

How I love my hippie life
Barefoot on cement
Brother, can you spare a quarter
Care to share some marijuana

Oh we’re gonna change the world
At least we’re gonna try
We’re gonna take this lowdown world
And make it high, high, high, high

©1/27/2015, Bette Ojala
[Dedicated with all due respect and credit to the authors of the musical HAIR, which I did see when I arrived in Detroit.]

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