So what kind of world does this play belong to? Hedwig is a transgender women from East Berlin, she has a sex botched change operation at the age of 26, she marries an American who brings her to the US and leaves her, she dates another boy who leaves her as well and goes on to become a rockstar, while she becomes an artist and today she has come on stage to tell her story. She compares her birth on the wrong side of the Berlin wall to a larger theme in her life of being born “on the wrong side”. Hence she defines her life as a struggle to go to the right side but is never fully able to do so. Although Hedwig’s life has been filled with struggles related to identity, money, love, she does not seem to be a sad person. In fact in her band “The Angry Inch”, she seems to have found a family. The way she talks to Yitzhak shows that she has developed a level of friendship and comfort with him. And today she is not afraid of or intimidated by all us strangers who have come to listen to her story. And this is a musical. Maybe because Hedwig is a musician and maybe she speaks better in poetry and music. This is her preferred way of expressing herself. The music is loud and full of energy, even when it is sad it is not dull.
Ok, lets try to answer Fuch’s questions for this play.
East Berlin and New York are two key locations. There are barely any rooms or closed spaces. She seems to be on the street the whole time.
This play, like the last one (Aunt Dan and Lemon), is a narration. Which means that the characters are aware that they are in a play, except for a few flashback scenes in between. The time is therefore real time.
The world that I see in the play revolves around Hedwig, and since Hedwig’s life is chaotic, the whole world seems to be chaotic too. It is eccentric with bright and bold lifestyles. It is dirty but the dirt is not out of place. As in the dirt has become a part of life.
The people in this world seem to be leading a very public life. The community aspect is missing, people seem to be living a very individualistic life. Maybe that is what makes this world colorful but uncomfortable.
The play starts with Hedwig’s defiant plea that she cannot be taken down. Like she is up against the world. But it ends with a beautiful song that unites us in our common suffering. This is the contradiction of her life. She is a wall that divides people in groups but also gives meaning to their life. I think the one line in Hedwig and The Angry Inch that explains the entire purpose of the play for me is in the first song when Yitzhak says:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hidwig is like that wall,
Standing before you in the divide,
Between east and west,
Slavery and freedom,
Man and woman,
Top and bottom.
Is a show about a refugee who feels she is born on the wrong side and attempts to go to the other side in all aspects of her life.