Spanish 'Hair' production face fine for onstage smoking
Health authorities in Spain have threatened to fine the producers of a Spanish adaptation of the rock musical "Hair" because cast members smoke on stage in violation of a new anti-tobacco law.
Under the new law, which took effect on January 2 and is one of the most strict in Europe, smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces, including bars, restaurants and night clubs, as well as in children's parks or anywhere on school or hospital grounds.
Health department officials have told the producers of the play, which opened at Barcelona's Teatro Apolo on December 22 just before the new law came into effect, that the smoking scenes violated the legislation and they could be fined up to 10,000 euros ($13,500).
But the play's director, Roger Pena, said the actors are not smoking tobacco, but cigarettes made from basil, mint leaves, dried walnut-tree leaves and other herbs.
"We don't have nor do we want tobacco because we do not want to violate the law. For this reason the actors smoke herbs that do not damage health," he told a news conference on Monday.
"Hair" is based in New York City in the mid-1960s and follows a group of free-spirited youth living a lifestyle of pacifism and free love, exploring sexual identity, challenging racism and experimenting with drugs.
Some of the hit songs in the show, which debuted on Broadway in 1968 and ran until 1972, include "Let the Sun Shine In," "Aquarius," "Hair" and "Good Morning Starshine."
Despite the threat of a fine, the producers of the Spanish adaptation of "Hair" said there were no plans to remove the smoking scenes.
© 2011 AFP