Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a misfit hoping to find own identity.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a transgender woman Hedwig who was born in Eastern Berlin right after the Berlin wall was erected, and who feels misfit in her own city and dreams of running away.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a transgender woman Hedwig who was born in Eastern Berlin right after the Berlin wall was erected, a woman who feels misfit in her own city and who, after the unsuccessful gender reassignment surgery, leaves to the U.S. to fulfil her dream and hopefully find her other half. The other half, as she believes, is what she needs to complete her and make her a whole. It’s a story about any one of us, who feel misfit and look for a place to belong.
The space on the Hedwig and the Angry Inch planet is both exterior and interior. We begin on the Broadway stage and while we are still at the theatre, we are being taken to the Eastern part of Berlin, then to a tiny apartment that belongs to Hedwig and his mother, then to even smaller oven where Hedwig is listening to his beloved Western rock n roll music, and shower where his mother does her sculpting work. Then to a hospital ward and all the way across the ocean to Kansas, where Hedwig is supposed to fulfil his dream.
It seems the time in this play is marked by the change of songs:
- Present on the Broadway stage
- Eastern Berlin in 1961 just after the Berlin wall was erected and Hedwig was born
- Twenty six years later Eastern Berlin when Hedwig is still living with his mother
- November, 1988 Kansas just when Hedwig moved there to fulfil her dream
- November, 1989 Kansas at the same time when the Berlin wall is being teared down
- Broadway stage again
With the songs changing, the world of the play becomes more wide open as we have a chance to better understand who Hedwig really is.
In my view, the defining moment and song in the play is “Origin of love”, where a mother reveals a story to a little boy and changes his life forever.
That’s the pain / Cuts a straight line / Down through the heart / We called it love
From this moment he will try to define himself and look for that other half.
If I had to make a list of words to best describe the mood and tone of the play, this would be my choice: hurt, wonder, messy, sad, tragic, sarcastic, angry and hopeful. And what could be a better style of music to fit all of these emotions to one, than rock n roll.
The very descriptive stage design helps to create mood as well: Middle Eastern street in ruins, bomb crater, blown-out wreck of a car.
The social life of a play
Hedwig is a central figure of the play. It’s all about his private life and his story through time. His life is like an onion. Bit by bit we get to peel it off and get a better look at what kind of person he / she is. We also meet people that have shaped his life: his mother, soldier Luther, young rock musician Tommy who also appears to be her other half and Yitzhak, the man she’s currently with.
The city of Berlin plays a key role symbolizing the life of Hedwig: confrontational, divided in two halves, hoping to find one’s lost identity.