Designing for Live Performance: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

September 24, 2018 Designing for Live Performance

Reading Hedwig and the Angry Inch using Fuch’s questions helped to solidify my concept questions.  Last week, I did the sentences first, and in hindsight, that might not’ve been very helpful.  

I The World of the Play:
   The space on this planet is set in the Belasco Theater in NYC, though the musical travels from Hedwig’s beginnings in East Berlin, to Kansas, to the present in New York. The time covered is mostly linear, sympathetically laying out Hedwig’s journey to the audience. 

   The mood of the planet runs the gamut of emotions, with a constant undercurrent of despair.  Even with all of the humor, there’s a very real feeling of Hedwig not being sure of her place in the world, and grappling with the hand she’s been dealt. 

   The band is an integral part of the narrative, not only providing backing for Hedwig’s vocals, but also providing Hedwig with something that she can control in her world.  The Vocals are also important, the various use of accents define the location, who’s speaking, drive points home in the dynamic between Hedwig & Yitzhak, and furthers the narrative. 

II Social World of the Play
   The world of the play is by and large public.  Very private moments are laid bare for the audience, as Hedwig exorcises her demons.  The Hierarchy is strict among Hedwig and her band, until the end of the musical, where Hedwig comes full circle. Character figures are exaggerated, showing at times the extremes of human nature. Costuming plays a large role in the telling of the story. Hedwig changes wigs periodically throughout the show, each wig seemingly representing different sides of her personality.  Wigs also are instrumental in showing the power dynamic between Hedwig & Yitzhak.  He was allowed to come with her, only if he never allowed another wig to touch his head, or perform in drag again.  At the end, we come full circle, and Yitzhak takes the stage in full, resplendent drag. 

III What Changes
   Over the course of the narrative, we see Hedwig’s journey of self acceptance. From the opening scene, where she’s introduced by Yitzhak, to Tommy Gnosis’ creations, to her walking into the light, with Yitzhak taking the lead with the band.  The broken eye becomes merges, becomes whole, and Hedwig finds her other half. 

Concept Sentences
1) Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about the journey to self acceptance.
2) Hedwig is about finding self acceptance, and not substituting power/control over others in lieu of accepting yourself.
3) Hedwig is about the journey Hedwig takes as she begins to love who she is.  And while doing so, stops trying to control/micromanage those in her life to keep them with her, while simultaneously using them to lift her up.