Introducing United Member, wonderful, and talented– Dasie Thames.
Ms. Thames performed as ‘Dion’ in the Serenbe Playhouse production of Hair —a rock musical that proved to be a game changer for American Theatre. This show invites the viewer to join the Tribe, a group of young hippes in search of their place in the world while doing their part for social and political change during the Vietnam War.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up here, outside of Atlanta–Lithonia, GA
Do you do anything else outside of acting or performing?
I wish this was the bread and butter, but I am a human resources manager by day. I work for a company called ITW, it’s a global industrial manufacturing company and I am responsible for some units in Chicago, Langrange, GA, Czech republic, and Germany. It’s kind of crazy!
How did you get into that field?
Years ago, I just worked my way up in the company, but I’ve been in human resources my entire career.
Did you go to school for that career?
Not for human resources, I actually got a degree in hotel and restaurant management, so it’s kinda interesting how that worked out.
Professionally- about 4 years. I’ve done some stuff in church growing up, and then I started doing smaller productions. Serenbe playhouse was actually where I did my first production on the professional level.
Tell me about the show hair?
Hair actually opened on Broadway in 1968 the same week that MLK was assassinated. So, in the midst of the Vietnam War, the racial tension, and economic tensions, the show came out and it was very controversial at the time. As a matter a fact,, depending on which cast you were in- the Chicago and San Francisco cast – a lot of them got death threats, were persecuted, and outcast by their friends and family because it was such an in-your-face -look-at-our-society show. So the revival came out in 2009 and we are doing a depiction or a mix of both the original play and the revival in the way that we portray the characters. The music and the score. however, is from the original play.
What would you say is the objective of the show?
I think for us to look at ourselves. You know, at the end of act one, we sing a song called ‘Where do I Go’ and I think that is really where the show takes a turn and becomes more self reflective. The first half is a lot of fun songs about being hippies and getting stoned but then, it puts it into question: where do you go? where do I go? where are the answers and where do you look to and from in order to find the answers? So Claude, one of the main characters, he leads us on that journey. At first, he looks to his friends, his tribe members, he looks to drugs, he looks to sex…all of that is referenced. In the end, the answer is found internally and he makes the decision to become the “invisible man” by basically sacrificing himself and fighting for his country and so that’s where he goes. We all have our own journey as a part of that process.
How did you get your role in the show?
I’ve worked with Serenbe Playhouse since it was founded. So the first 2 seasons, I did the Ugly Duckling and Jungle Book, but I didn’t do last season with them. This year when they were casting for Hair, I think Brian looked at me and probably saw that it clearly fit (because of my hair), and I was also really interested in doing the production, so that’s how I kind of got involved in it.
What is your favorite part about the show?
I have a favorite song which is ‘What a Piece of Work is Man’. I think it’s just so powerful because at the end of the trip scene, there’s death , there’s chaos, there’s sadness, but at the same time we’re singing about the beauty of man and the attempt to try to be like a god. I think the best part about the show overall, is working with such amazing and talented people. We all have our own perspective on how we see the show, how we see ourselves and how we face life; to bring that together…it’s just been an amazing experience.
So now, we’re gonna talk about your hair. How long have you had natural hair?
Since February 2009 . First I started growing it out and I got tired of having the half- poof and the half- straight and I chopped it off and I wore braids and eventually I was like… forget that, and I just started wearing it out.
It makes me extremely versatile. I can do a show like Hair and I can also do a show like Divas and not have to wear a wig which a lot of performers have to do. I can press my hair and make it straight and flowy and also wear it as an afro. When I change my hair style it makes me look very different all together. I can look like a hippy, I can look more butch, or more refined. I think my hair can kind of take on its own character.
How do you think other people see you when your hair is out and in a fro?
They love it. It’s interesting because I work in corporate America during the day and I typically don’t wear it in a fro, but recently, because of the show, I was wearing it out and my co-workers love it. I think it’s empowering for them to see another piece of who I really am. Normally, it’s so professional, and conservative so they’re seeing a different side. It’s empowering to break away from that.
What is your hair regimen?
Honestly, right now during the run of the show, it’s letting it be dirty for the weekend and then washing it on Monday and it will stay clean until about Wednesday. Normally, I co-wash it at least once a week depending on how dirty it gets, I might co-wash twice a week. I use a mixture of avocado oil, almond oil, castor oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, to do a deep oil treatment about once a month, I do the mayo and egg and mix it with the shea moisture deep conditioner, put a cap over it and let it sit for 45 minutes and then rinse it out. I started doing the apple cider rinses and I see a huge difference in how well my hair detangles. I have about 4C hair and it gets tangled so easily, but the ACV rinse helps. As a daily moisturizer, I love to use Cantu Shea Butter. I also recently got a sample of Dr. Miracles Curl Care and I need to find it. I tried doing bantu knots twice with it and I actually like it. My hair stays really soft and the curl pattern actually stays for a long time.
A little country…a little rock and roll lol It just depends on my mood. I can be bohemian- a lot of bangles, big fro, and I can do some other style and wear my hair is pressed and be more conservative. I’m typically more conservative than anything. I like to wear glasses ( I have a couple of pairs that I wear (I also wear contacts)) to make me feel different. My new favorite thing is shopping at Goodwill to find cool stuff. I think I’m really better at styling other people than myself because I make them take more risk that I would be willing to do myself.
What would you say to other people that are afraid to follow their dreams or pursue their passions?
What are you waiting for? and that’s a question for me too. Life is fragile, and short and unexpected and sometimes opportunities come and they are there just for you and you need to be willing to take them and see what will happen. It’s ok to make a mistake. It’s not necessarily about focusing on the negative impact of taking a risk. There’s a lot of positiveness that can happen, even if it’s just self growth, self development, or self awareness.
Hair is still running until the 18th, so it’s not too late go to see this awesome production.
Visit SerenbePlayhouse.com for ticket information.