Monday, March 1, 2010

To Be Free, One Must Give Up a Little Part of Oneself

SO many things going on right now.

I'm in one of my sentimental moods, so you're all just going to have to bite your tongues and listen for a little while.

1- I set my alarm clock for 4pm instead of 4am today, so at around noon I woke up, only to realize that I'd TOTALLY missed any window of opportunity to make it to Spamalot auditions on time. Not really a big deal, I wasn't even really that upset, but it was another silly thing for me to have done...

2- I just watched Rachel Getting Married for the first and second time. All I can say is, "WOW". Amazing movie that I think will garner its own post- alas, this is not it.

3- Here's the real reason I'm posting:

My most recent musical binge has been one of my favorite musicals, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I first discovered Hedwig when I was 13 or 14 years old, following my love of Rocky Horror into other cult rock musicals... obviously, Hedwig was the next step.

Unlike Rocky Horror, I was too young to really understand what was going on, although I knew I loved it. Now I've been giving it another listen, and a watch, and another thousand listens, and another couple viewings, and I'm officially obsessed. It is such a beautiful movie, I only wish I could have been there to see the stage show off-broadway.

The show revolves around Hedwig Robinson, a transsexual punk-rocker who is following his ex-lover in an act of vengeance after his lover stole his songs. I know, it doesn't sound very deep. It is a little campy sometimes, but what show about a tranny rock star wouldn't be?

The real beauty in the story is in what it is really about- love. Hedwig's life has been the constant struggle to find love, losing love, being betrayed by love, and still finding a way to keep loving. Hedwig, whose real name is Hansel, was living in East Berlin before the wall was torn down. He wanted to marry a US G.I., but could not as a man. He sacrificed his body (or a piece of it) to marry his lover, who after marrying him and eloping with him to the U.S., leaves him. The story goes on, but I don't want to totally ruin it for those of you who might be interested in watching it.

My point is, I'm so drawn to the drama of the story, as well as the amazing writing by John Cameron-Mitchell and Stephen Trask. It is such a poignant story about the vulnerability of love and humanity. I am trying to produce a concert version next fall or spring, but I have a LOT of details to work out before that will ever happen. I am so connected to this piece right now, though, that I feel I have to do it.

One of the songs in "Hedwig..." is called "Origins of Love", and it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. The song uses mythology and an idea first introduced by Aristophanes, which tells the tale of how love first came to be. He explains that humans used to consist of basically two bodies connected back to back (two faces, 4 arms, 4 legs, etc.), and those beings were very powerful. They were going to plan an overtaking of the Gods, so Zeus split them in half down the back and they lost their power. Now, they are looking for their other half, and that need is what we called love.

The song is much more poetic, and it is truly a gorgeous song. Just one of many in that show that makes you think about things in a much more abstract and vulnerable way- almost nothing about Hedwig is black and white.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky,
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked; while they read.
And they never knew nothing of love.
It was before the origin of love.

The origin of love

And there were three sexes then,
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
Called the children of the sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Were the children of the earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the children of the moon
Were like a fork shoved on a spoon.
They were part sun, part earth
Part daughter, part son.

The origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
"I'm gonna kill them all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants."
And Zeus said, "No,
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales
And dinosaurs into lizards."
Then he grabbed up some bolts
And he let out a laugh,
Said, "I'll split them right down the middle.
Gonna cut them right up in half."
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades
Of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun
And the moon
And the earth.
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole,
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane,
To scatter us away,
In a flood of wind and rain,
And a sea of tidal waves,
To wash us all away,
And if we don't behave
They'll cut us down again
And we'll be hopping round on one foot
And looking through one eye.

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.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We were making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It's the story of
The origin of love.
That's the origin of love.

The art used in the movie to depict the origin of love is amazing. I've been wanting to get a tattoo for a long time, and I'm going to be very candid when I tell you what it was, and what I think it will be-
For a long time I felt very selfish. I felt like I was not always able to truly love others because I couldn't put their needs before mine. While I feel like I've changed a lot as a person, I still sometimes struggle with love, and I don't think that I've ever really fallen in love. I know I'm young, I know it seems silly, but it's a very vulnerable feeling, and one that I struggle with. I wanted to get a tattoo of a narcissus flower on my left ankle, and then when I knew I'd fallen in love and truly felt connected to someone, I was going to get a blooming lotus flower on my right ankle.

Right now, I think what I'd really like is a picture of the artwork done for the two bodies in 'Origin of Love' on my left ankle as a symbol of my search to find, and sense of admiration for love. The art work looks like this:



So in closing, everyone should watch 'Rachel Getting Married' and 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch', and then you should come see my production next year =) Hopefully, if I can make it happen, I will keep you posted.


1 comment:

  1. I think that's an amazing idea. I am a huge fan of body art, especially art that has meaning. Hedwig such an awesome musical, and Origin of Love is perfect in so many ways. And hey, after I get inked, we can compare. ;-)