It’s 1967. The Vietnam War is still raging. In defiance, the counterculture has grown. In a park in New York City, the Tribe of hippies comes together.
The musical begins with a ritual. Prior to curtain, Claude enters the stage, looks around, and sits down. The Tribe begins to appear from all possible entrances -- the wings, the audience, wherever the space permits. The Tribe offers flowers and burning incense sticks to members of the audience. A few minutes later, two girls enter the stage, carrying a piece of cloth and “a burning flame in some kind of earthenware receptacle on a stand,” and set up an altar in front of Claude. Music slowly begins to build, and bird calls are heard from the Tribe. They begin to enter the stage as the music intensifies. Berger approaches Claude with a pair of scissors and cuts off a lock of Claude’s hair. The Tribe freezes. Berger gives the cut hair to Sheila, who adds it to the flame. The Tribe unfreezes, moving together in slow motion. Ronny