Braden Chapman may be the busiest man in Portland. His days are spent sewing 150 cubits of fabric for the stage on which he will perform a one-man version of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” He’s also going to need props, costumes, and a set.
Don’t worry-he’s got that covered too.
When he isn’t working on his lines or rehearsing songs, he’s designing the set, collecting props and selling tickets. The entire production is Chapman’s vision.
The musical is a benefit for the GLBTQA Resource Center and the St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center at 76 Congress St. in Portland, where it will be performed.
In addition to the five different characters Chapman portrays, the production has a 15-person ensemble. With the help of director and friend Louis Gervalis, the main character of Hedwig comes alive-how she carries herself, right down to the flick of her arm as she spouts her lines.
“Hedwig” is a modern fairy tale of a man who undergoes a sex change operation to marry an American soldier and follow her dream of finding her other half. In the crazy and bizarre story of Hedwig there is an underlying message that is universal to all.
“She loves someone who doesn’t love her back,” said Chapman.
Hedwig is the storyteller and through her Chapman makes the audience feel the transformations and emotional highs and lows of each character.
“I have to destroy myself and have a moment of revelation for the audience to feel,” Chapman said. “I have to gain their trust to take them on this ride.”
The musical is performed directly to the audience. Hedwig speaks to audience members and engages them in the musical.
“It’s the human desire to tell your story that we all have. Hedwig is just telling her story right to you.”
Chapman created his own theater company know known as Glitterati in 1998. In previous productions, Chapman raised over $4,000 for Outright, an organization that supports GLBTQ youth.
“Hedwig” will cost around $12,000. Chapman has raised over $11,000 from businesses like Videoport, Casco Bay Weekly, The Portland Phoenix and the general public. Chapman believes the support of this production shows how this musical brings together different communities.
“The rock community, queer community, theater communities, and people who just loved the movie are all brought together.”
Chapman indulged his obsession with Hedwig 1999 when he attended every performance of a production in Portsmouth, N.H.
“Front row, third seat over. That was my seat. It just swallowed me. From then on I knew, I had to do this show!”
Chapman thinks audience members will feel a connection to Hedwig’s story.
“Before people see it, they think, ‘What do I have in common with this crazy person?’ After they see it they realize they have everything in common with her. They want to love and to be loved.”
After the four performances of “Hedwig,” Chapman will be ready to “pass on the wig.” This musical is a major goal achieved and he wants to pass on lessons he’s learned.
“I’ve been breathing, eating, sleeping Hedwig for four years now. It’s given me something to follow but now it’s time to move on.”
The show had such an impact on Chapman he feels obligated to bring it to others.
“This show has helped me realize a lot of things, career wise and emotionally. If someone doesn’t know where they are going, or who they are, this show can hit them really hard like it did to me.”
Staff Writer Nicolette Harding can be contacted at: [email protected]
Friday, April 12
Saturday April 13
Friday April 19
Saturday, April 20
8:30 p.m. each night
St. Lawrence Arts and
76 Congress St.
$15 General Public
$7 Students/Youth under 22
The Center seats only 100 people so make reservations early by calling 228-8235.
For more on the musical, visit http://home.maine.rr.com/hedwig