I won't be able to see the show, because I live in the other side of the world from New York, and even if I could afford a plane ticket, visa costs, ticket to the Broadway show after selling a useless kidney (useless in comparison to witnessing the real revival of Hedwig), I'm sure it would be near to impossible to get a ticket now. And still even though I won't be able to see this revival myself, I'm so grateful that Hedwig is back in her true shape and form for all us misfits and losers all around the globe.
For all of us who saw the film, it remains one of the most important films in Rock Culture, and one of the most influential films of our lives. You don't need to be gay or transgender or even a former East Berliner to appreciate this film. The music in this film and show, the story, and Hedwig herself with all her tragedy and dramedy embodies so much of the loneliness, desire for love, from others, and for oneself, that is so universally human, that every naked soul can easily embrace and be seriously marked by for the rest of their lives.
Hedwig is far from a perfect woman, or man, or something in between. She starts as a he. She was "born on the other side of a town ripped in two". An East Berliner influenced profoundly by American Rock 'n Roll and Punk music, utterly and with no doubt gay and exquisitely effeminate and beautiful, falls in love with a huge black American army man who promises to marry him and take him away to the US, far beyond the wall. It is the year 1989. Hedwig's mother advises him to turn into a woman, take his mother's name and have a sex change operation to be able to pass the medical exam, to marry the strong, black American military man. It is 1989 and after Hedwig finds herself a trailer trash army wife, divorcee, the Berlin wall breaks down. All the sacrifice was done for nothing. As someone who's experienced immigration and the need to go beyond the wall myself, my whole life, coming from a formerly North Korean style isolated country, I deeply understand the need to get the hell out, the sacrifice, and I empathize with Hedwig's desperation.
After being abandoned by the very same man who cut her into pieces, Hedwig has become a part time prostitute, a part time babysitter, and a part time musician. She falls in love with an innocent Christian raised young man, projects into the innocent soul all her dreams and hopes for completeness, and breaks his heart after revealing her angry inch left out of a botched operation. Ultimately he is the one who breaks Hedwig's heart even more. After receiving a great music education he steals all of Hedwig's songs and becomes a huge star. Hedwig, full of anger, regret, hate and most probably self-hate, sings her songs and tells her story to a smaller audience, near the venue where Tom Gnosis, her self-described soul-mate and heart thief is having one of his huge concerts.
Hedwig sings of separation, love, incompleteness and finally acceptance. Origin of Love based on Plato's myth of humans separated as two halves by the Gods, seeking the other half to be complete, is one of the most beautiful love poems ever written. Who hasn't dreams of meeting that other person who's going to make us feel less alone, less incomplete; the missing half?
"Last time I saw you
We had just split in two
You were looking at me
I was looking at you
You had a way so familiar
But I could not recognize
Cause you had blood on your face
I had blood in my eyes
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine
That's the pain
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart
We called it love"
"The fates are vicious and they're cruel.
like a fool
and then you're someone you are not,
and Junction City ain't the spot,
remember Mrs. Lot
and when she turned around.
And if you've got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
through the dark turns and noiseof this wicked little town."