“What is space like on this planet? Interior or exterior, built or natural? Is space here confined or wide open? Do you see a long passage with many “stations”? Do you see a landscape of valleys and mountains? Sea and land? Are we on an island? In a cave? In a desert or a jungle? On a country road?”
- Space on this planet is entirely interior. Although the story takes us through Germany and Kansas and New York, we see all of those places through the mind of our protagonist.
“Now ask about the time. How does time behave on this planet? Does “time stand still”? Is time frantic and staccato on this planet? Is it leisurely, easy-going time? How is time marked on this planet? By clock? By the sun? By the sound of footsteps? What kind of time are we in? Cyclical time? Eternal time? Linear time? What kind of line? One day? One lifetime?”
- Time in this narrative follows a couple of different paths. One path goes through a night of a single performance, and the other path takes us through our protagonist’s life. Just like space, time is completely filtered through Hedwig’s eyes.
“What is the mood on this planet? Jolly? Serious? Sad? Ironic? Sepulchral? The mood is not just a question of plot (comedies are “happy,” etc.), “tone” also contributes to mood. What is the tone of this planet? Delicate or coarse? Cerebral or passionate? Restrained or violent? How are mood and tone created on this planet? Through music? Light, sound, color, shape? What shapes? Curves? Angles?”
- The mood of this planet runs from comical to tranquil to angry, but underneath all of it lies an incredible sadness. Even at its lightest and most irreverent moments, this world feels the weight of what has happened to its main character over the course of her life.
“Look at the first image. Now look at the last. Then locate some striking image near the center of the play [...] Why was it essential to pass through the gate of the central image to get from the first to the last?”
- The first image of the show is a loud, bombastic and angry Hedwig complaining about Tommy Gnosis’ comeback tour. The final image is of Hedwig and Yitzhak singing a duet together, with Yitzhak in drag. Near the center of the play, we see an image of Hedwig’s mother and former lover convincing her to get gender reassignment surgery. We needed to pass this central image to truly understand Hedwig’s growth. The moment of the surgery shows us why Hedwig is so frustrated at other people creating an identity for her, which is the reason why it matters so much that she finally allows Yitzhak to perform the way they’ve wanted to.
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a play about identity.
o Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a play about the difference between the identities we create for ourselves versus the identities other people create for us.
§ Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a play about the conflict between one’s self-chosen identity and the identity crafted by society, and whether those two concepts can ever be truly separated. The play begins with Hedwig’s anger at Tommy Gnosis, who recently rebranded himself after what could have been a career-ending error in judgment. It ends with with Hedwig accepting her partner performing in drag, finally accepting that people in her life won’t always stick to the roles assigned to them, a choice she never felt like she had.