Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hedwig and the boundaries of transgression

 this post contains adult content not typical of the rest of my blog.
If that kind of stuff is offensive to you, you should probably skip the post. 

 There's nothing objectionable per se, but I am discussing transgressive behavior, and I do mention porn.

Scroll down to read.  Thanks!

This is the Broadway program, not
ours, but ours didn't have an image.
We went on a date night recently to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  It was a date night at the lovely Oriental Theater, currently on tour and starring Euan Morton as Hedwig, formerly Hansel, a transsexual singer who has had a botched operation (hence the Angry Inch) which is also the name of his/her band, and is now in a liminal state of being simultaneously man and woman physically as well as emotionally and is stalking his former lover/babysittee as he became a national rock sensation.

I'm sad to report that I didn't like the show very much, although I thought it was well acted and well played.

 Morton prances around the stage with a lot of energy, has some funny one-liners, as does his now husband, Yitzkak, who is played with a very comic sad sack quality by Hannah Corneau.  And the band all does what they do just great.

But the show itself failed in allowing me into the story, and as a result, I was just kind of uninterested in what was going on.  I said to my wife after the show that I felt like I was at a rock concert where I didn't know any of the songs.  There was a lot of energy, but without a connection, it signified nothing.

Some of that has to do with the architecture.  The Oriental Theatre seats 2200 and I was way up in the balcony.  I could imagine feeling more involved in a tiny theatre, where the actor was in front of me, sweating on me, getting me involved, where I could get immersed in the show. Part of that was the overly loud sound, the relentless strobe lights, and the set design, which was great for filling this giant theatre with everything except for true connection.

Some of it has to do with me.  I can't like every play that's out there, and for whatever reason, I didn't connect/care too much about the story.  I'm sure others had a different reaction.  The place was full and people were laughing and cheering at the end. I guess I'm just not a Hedwigian.
Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter in Rocky Horror.
On the way back from the theatre, my wife and I had a great conversation about transgressive musicals.

When I was a kid, the thing that turned you on to "alternative lifestyles" was Rocky Horror.  It broke the norms of sexual behavior, and as a teen that was what was exciting and forbidden.  It opened up (for me) a whole new exciting world that I knew nothing about.  I think for the era before me, it might have been Hair that did the same.  I think Hedwig was the transgressive musical of the 90's.  And maybe 50 Shades was it during the 2000s?  (Although as far as I know it is not a musical. Which is a transgression in and of itself!)

Anyway, we started talking about what was going to be transgressive now, when transsexualism and BDSM are mainstream, when Burlesque is available just about everywhere, and when all sorts of lascivious pleasures are available to anyone with half a brain and the gumption to say that they are over 18.

And the fact that kids who are watching hardcore porn have a very misleading idea of what sex is, should be, can be, and what their roles are within it.

Not sure what's transgressive now, but from my experience last night, Hedwig wasn't it.

If you've got a pointer to transgressive musicals/media of 2017, please let me know!  (I will not accept urine-soaked video of Donald Trump as an answer!)

Find out more about Hedwig and where it's touring to  HERE

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