Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

As I sit here pondering how to write about a subject as complex as Hedwig and the Angry Inch which I saw last night at Jobsite Theatre, I realize I should probably set some objectives for what I intend to accomplish here, in this space, for writing about the theatrical performances I see.  The burgeoning scholar in me is humbled by the ramblings of Jobsite’s Artistic Director, David Jenkins.  His recent posts on Hedwig--’Stage vs. Screen’ and ‘Week 1 thoughts’ are what I want my own posts to resemble.  The critic in me wants to get the word out quickly and inspire those who may be on the fence about going to see a show to just jump down and go see it!  And after you do, come and talk to me about it. My second favorite thing about theatre is talking about a show.

Perhaps what I need to do is a quick blast of why one should go, and then a longer piece with outside links to other topics, a virtual game of connect-the-dots that makes the interwebs a crazy world in which to get tangled, and how this blog got its name.

So why should you go see Hedwig?  First, because of Hedwig’s story.  From the early days, with his (he’s still Hansel at this point) head in the oven, listening to The Captain and Tennille on Armed Forces Radio, to the botched sex change operation where s/he laments, “It was my first day as a woman, already that time of the month”  and then her escape to the United States just as the Berlin Wall is coming down.  Then (sigh) there is the song, with its accompanying video, The Origin of LoveMy absolute favorite part of the show.  It is a beautiful tale in and of itself.

The music rocks, the puns make you groan and there is even a sing-along.  Spencer Meyer’s drag queen mannerisms are awkward at times but when he channels Tommy Gnosis he is spot on.  Amy Gray’s gender crossing Yitzak is quite believable and Jonathan Cho’s hair is...well, you’ll see.  

It is playing through September 29 and tickets are going fast.  Get yours today.  

More thoughts to come.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another play

What do you do when your world is forever changed in an instant?  If you are an ordinary person you struggle through the grief.  If you are a writer you may try to write your way out the despair.  If you are Joan Didion, you write a book and then that book becomes a play in which she tells us all that we will go through that “Year of Magical Thinking” when you cannot give away your husband’s shoes because he may need them when he comes back.  Of course, you know he will not come back because he is dead.  Talking one moment and dead the next.  
The Studio 620 in collaboration with The Dali Museum presented this play, The Year of Magical Thinking, at both venues, directed by Bob Devin Jones and starring, in a one woman performance, Roxanne Fay.  Everything about the production is simple, a single wooden chair on stage, a haunting melody, an understated costume of gray skirt, top and jacket, the no-nonsense haircut reminiscent of Joan Didion and the mostly matter of fact style with which she tells us, the audience, that we will go through what she has gone through.  We may grieve differently but we will grieve.  
Didion’s husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne died on December 30, 2003 of a massive heart attack as the couple were getting ready for dinner having just returned from the hospital where their daughter Quintana was in a coma battling pneumonia and septic shock.  Didion recounts her struggle through the year after husband’s death and her attempts to deal with her daughter’s illness and eventual death.  A year in which she cannot bring her husband back or keep her daughter safe.  Fay’s performance is like controlled chaos, teetering on the edge of a breakdown.  A breakdown that does not happen in public but which you are certain happened on lonely nights as the world she knew changed forever in an instant.  
The show is over now but if you get the chance to read the book or see a production, do it.  It will happen to you someday, too.