Monday, November 19, 2012

Hedwig Manifestation

 
Director, Tara Corless, invited me to sketch as actor Brian Thompson got ready for the final night's performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Majestic Theatre and Lounge inside Revolution Nightclub ( 375 South Bumby Avenue). I arrived a bit early and all the doors to the club were locked. A fellow with long dark hair was waiting in the parking lot. It turned out he had left his cell phone in the club from the performance the night before. He had been waiting since 4PM and I believe the performers started arriving around 6PM. The lead actor and actress, Dorothy Massey who plays Yitzhak, and  Brian, who plays Hedwig, pulled up in a van. All the costumes were piled up in the back and they opened the tailgate and started eating their takeout Chinese food. Andy Matchett pulled up, rolled down his car window, and he asked if anyone wanted a drink since he was making a drink run. Dorothy began relating Saint Augustine ghost stories as the sun set. Every fifteen minutes or so, Cessna airplanes would swoop down over the Club on their approach to the Executive Airport.

The dressing room was maybe 10 feet square and the entire cast had to use the space. I found a spot to sketch from, and I checked with Dorothy to make sure I wasn't blocking anyone. It would take a full two hours for Hedwig to manifest and transform himself into a woman. His eyebrows were already shaved which would save time. Dorothy explained that her transformation to a man would take much less time. Stage manager, Ally Gursky, arrived with a container of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. She had skinned her knee the night before and somehow every piece of musical equipment carried through the dressing room managed to bonk her raw knee. Being insensitive, I couldn't help but chuckle.  On her iPhone, she played a wonderful video that pointed out the obvious and hilarious reason to be supportive of gay marriage. Then Tara arrived with containers full of red white and blue cupcakes left over from Veterans day no doubt. Dorothy straddled Brian's lap and started painting decorative swirling eyebrows. Andy arrived with a bottle of Burbon. He said to me, "Care to take that sketch to the next level?" He filled my cup and asked if I wanted some Ginger ale to water it down. I decided to taste the burbon first. My throat lit on fire and I whispered, "Yep, I need some ginger ale." My lines loosened up with each sip. Dorothy started dancing in wild abandon to "Do It With a Rockstar".

One of the Guitar players started to thank every one. "I started this show tentative and unsure, but you all made me feel at home. Thanks you everyone for your friendship and support, I'm going to miss you all when this show is over." Andy said, "No problem, Uhm, what is your name again?" Everyone laughed. Tara circled everyone up for a pre-show ritual. Half of the cast circled up their index finger and thumb creating a cavity in their palms while the rest of the cast inserted their index fingers in the warm cavities. All their hands and wrists intertwined. Ally shouted, "Five minuted to show time!" actors shouted back, "Thank you 5!" There was an electric excitement in the air. Tara announced that they had 30 people in the audience, that was the largest audience they had in the entire show's run. Andy claimed that on some nights they performed with only three people in the audience. This was a case off life imitating art imitating life,  The band went on stage and  a flash of electric music filled the theater with the Origin of Love. These rock stars were ready to raise the rafters!

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