Hedwig got me wet, a story of falling for a woman
I work saturdays.
Winning the lottery that one time to see Hedwig starring Neil Patrick Harris was extremely rare. People don’t just go around winning lotteries and prizes very often. And it’s never you, you know? Well, it was never me. Well–it’s rarely me. I won a TV once when I was 19. I won my in-class spelling bee in elementary school a few times. And in 8th grade my Odyssey of the Mind Team won for regionals, losing State by a couple points due to a misquote. Man, that changed my look on quotes FOREVER. But, that was all before adulthood. As far as being the winner of random selection, it’s not me. It’s never me.
It never was me.
Then I won the lottery to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch and my attitude slightly changed.
My housemate, on the other hand, is all too familiar with winning the lottery. She won the lottery twice in one week while her mom was visiting, her mom won once, so at that point she’d seen it three times. Then, I won and we went together. Then she bought a ticket for closing weekend. So she’d seen it five times (I believe) at this point. This point meaning, this last saturday 8/23rd when I was at work, I got a text from her
“I won AGAIN!!” showtime was at 8p. We’d be seeing Andrew, the guy who had taken over the title of Hedwig upon NPH’s departure. We agreed to meet near the Starbucks on the corner of 42nd/6th Avenue. It was 7:15p.
by 7:30p we were in line and heading in, we were directed to our seats but decided best to use the facilities first.
Row three was where we needed to go to get to our seats–then all…the…way…forward…to the Second Row. Center.
Who the hell am I living with?? How did win the Lottery AGAIN. How did we score THESE tickets???
The only other time I’d ever been this close to a stage, on the audience side of it, was when I went to see John Mayer at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 2002. I waited in line for 5 hours that time. General admission, heh.
And here we were. maybe 3 feet from the stage.
8pm: Hedwig was being lowered to the stage via some wire contraption. I recognized the costume from the previous time I’d gone. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a difference, but I don’t know what fits and what doesn’t. I don’t know…anything. I’d done musical theatre for ten years, and it was as though I’d never been to a performance more than once before.
He looked great. She? Hair, make up, clothes. Everything was great. Even the bandaid we could see on the actors knee, no doubt from working his way into the role and on to the stage in three days time. Her jokes are similar. I get it, it’s a script, but some of it is delivered differently. Some of the lines are improvised each night, I believe, because there’s always someone different, there’s always something different. We were introduced to the The Booth, and the people in it were instructed to watch for The Ghost. I flashed -back to when I was up there, and wondered if they would say anything or play along, and what Hedwig’s response would be. But I didn’t want to rush to it, I wanted to enjoy EVERY SINGLE SECOND in being thisclosetothestage.
What I also was able to notice was the facial expressions on everyone else on the stage this night. I was able to see the 2 band members that previously were blocked out of my view (partial view, that balcony/booth seat). I was able to see the door that was opened and closed whenever “Tommy Gnosis” was referenced. I could see the car better, the drum set. I saw that the straws in her drinks were not the fun-bendy straws. I was so close. I could see the laces on her shoes. The cuff in her pants, the black tie was actually leather looking this close. Her jacket and collared shirt. Fingerless gloves. Was she also in a hoodie? How may layers did she have on? No, not Hedwig–I was staring at Yitzhak. Hedwig’s “husband, friday through thursday” I could see her sideburns, and the whispy straggler hair that dangled in front of her face. She moves like a guy. Had I never known the actor was a girl, and the character was a girl, I would say it was a guy. Good lookin’ guy, no doubt. Pale skin. Those eyebrows. Thick and dark. The kind that when lifted look like, well–a drawbridge. When she spoke earlier her accent was heavy. I’d watch her most of the performance, actually. I’d be watching Hedwig, then glance over and see what Yitzhak was doing. Staring at Hedwig, and achey stare. Not just giving the attention to Hedwig, but longing for Hedwig’s attention as well.
I am fascinated.
I am so close I can see the blue-glittered sweat trickling down Hedwigs face. The thick coat of foundation and pink rouge angling her face. Her accent is fun, her one-liners are funny, her relationship with the audience is great. We are all on board. She kicks and climbs and sings and dances. She’s a bit more careful on the stage. Literally. Maybe not used to the heels? Who am I to judge, I certainly could’ve broken an ankle or a leg had I attempted to jump off a car in five inch heels, so believe me–I’m rootin’ for her. I’m engaged. I also cannot stop glancing over to watch Yitzhak…sitting. Sometimes sitting, sometimes standing and singing, rocking out. Twisting and jumping, always on the watch for Hedwig and her movements. Her mic cable under constant Yitzhak-supervision. It’s choreographed, but not. The tambourine hitting hands and legs, hard. I wonder if there are bruises on her leg, on Yitzhak’s legs. I’m watching this guy, and know it’s a girl, and can’t stop staring. I stare as he (she..) slowly grabs one of Hedwig’s wigs and caresses the hair and smells it, it’s hilarious. He’s so committed (she)…Never once trying to steal any looks, just–on tour with Hedwig, whom he loves. She loves.
My head is a mess and I’m laughing and I’m enjoying the show. And Hedwig is standing front and center talking and I glance over at Yitzhak…and all of a sudden–I’m wet.
Water has been dumped on me? No, spat on me. Hedwig, drank her water and like a fountain, steamed a solid amount from her mouth all over me. Everyone laughs. I’m brought back to Hedwig, also laughing. I glance up and Hedwig is staring right at me and I open my mouth with laughter and wipe at my face and chest smearing all this saliva covered water over my arms and clothes. She says something about it being a “rock and roll gesture” then she corrected herself and said it was a “Heavy Metal gesture” and followed with “do you want to see a punk rock gesture” to which I shook my head No..(knowing what was happening next) and Hedwig went for more water–a LOT more water…then instead of spitting it all over me let it dribble out of her mouth all over her. hahahah Then she explains “It’s the direction of aggression that defines it.”
We are all laughing. She walks away. I am drenched and all of a sudden he is a couple feet from me. He ran to the center of the stage with towels cleaning up the water. He…She…she’s fast and intentional and on her hands and knees, parallel to the audience with her head to House right (stage left for some of you…). I am then transitioned into slow motion, because she is looking directly at me. I am frozen. I know that my mouth is open and I’m leaning forward, slightly smiling with excitement to his proximity–hers. She reaches out with a white washcloth towel towards me and for a moment I wish I stood up and leaned towards her to let her wipe me off, but I otherwise reach out. I’m unable to tell you if the towel was handed to me with both of our arms extended, or if I reached out and was actually able to catch it as it was gently tossed to me. All I know is within this slow motion, his eye contact has remained. A look of somewhat worry and apologetic. Apologizing for Hedwig’s actions may not be uncommon…I imagine–I imagine this because I’ve not only moved to slow motion, I have transported myself to a place of dissecting every facial expression he makes. .. I have received a towel and he..SHE has turned the other way to head back to her seat Stage right. But before she leaves, he glances back at me again and time froze for me, again: I saw A close-mouthed smile and kind eyes peer at me. drawbridge eyebrows tilt towards one another and every scenario of every romantic movie is flashing across my mind. That–and the feelings of being twelve with a crush. The kind of crush where you come up with every thought or line The Guy was thinking or would say… They follow:
hello beautiful OR
You’re pretty OR
You’re welcome OR
I like you OR
It was nice to see you, too OR
How are you? OR
And he was gone.
She was gone. Back to her corner. And I didn’t move for a moment. I have no idea what Hedwig was saying. I have no idea if anyone else around me saw Our Moment, but I have this towel, and I got that look..which now–of course–means I am in Love.
I’m twelve and in love and I never want to leave the theatre and I want him to come back and I want to do the whole thing over again and again and again and again and again.
I, eventually, come back to the present and use the towel for it’s purpose, drying my face and chest and arms. My shirt still soaked, my smile still on–glued on my face.
At some point there’s a sing-a-long, and I participate. There’s more jokes, there’s a story told on-a-serious-note, then there’s the beginning of the next song. Only Hedwig is upset. Too upset, at this moment to sing. And she walks away from us telling Yitzhak she needs a minute. Yitzhak looks worried about Hedwig, but also willing to take this moment to sing himself. herself. He stands there and I’m still in love, and he opens his mouth and he sounds–like a girl.
duh. I knew this. I knew it was coming. I KNOW that’s a girl! I know the actor is a girl, I know the character is a girl dressing on purpose like a boy. I’ve heard the sound of her voice a few times now. ..
It’s great. It’s intense and it builds. It’s called The Long Grift
Look what you’ve done
You know that I loved you, hon
And I didn’t want to know
That your cool
Was a tool
Of your trade
Of all the riches you’ve surveyed
And all that you can lift
I’m just another dollar that you made
In you long, long grift
Look what you’ve done
Another hustle has been run
And now you ought to know
That this fool
Can no longer be swayed
By the tools
Of your trade
I’m just another john you’ve gypped
Another sucker stiffed
A walk-on role in the script
To your long, long grift
The love that had me in your grip
Was just a long, long grift
Stories. Songs. Big Crazy ending. And it’s a sing-a-long again. LIFT UP YOUR HANDS. And it’s an anthem. Hedwig has removed her wig and ceremoniously given it to Yitzhak. She leaves the stage with joy, like freedom is something she’d never tasted. It’s all very important and moving (ish). And she comes back…
But…but where’s is*my* Yitzhak. I no longer feel twelve with a crush, I’m just normal now. She’s normal, and I’m normal. Amazing voice, this girl. Miss Lena Hall. Of whom I do not have a crush on as herself, or as the girly-version of Yitzhak, but of her boyish character. Odd, no? No? It’s not?? hmmm..
We all stood up and applauded. I yelled Happy Birthday to Andrew, I don’t believe he heard me. I yelled and as we were filing out my housemate asked one of the guitar players, Justin, for a pick. How does she know these people?? This guy was on stage the whole time. They bowed, they left the stage. Houselights came up and the band and crew came out to clean up. She saw him and called to him, he answered and brought her a pick. I’m her fan. She also spoke to Matt (I think was his name) Said something about another good show. this guy has blue hair and is smiling and briefly chatting with my housemate from the stage. Next I’m ready for her to get us backstage.
But that, may be another story….
The actor who plays my crush…
Yah. Goodnight, Neverland.