The next scene is a rap number in the school library (and we have to wonder, ), where the kids plan an excursion to a rave called Wonderland, a name intentionally conjuring up the kind of alternate reality we’ve already encountered in the opening dream sequence; but in this case evoking escape from the oppression of the church and school, rather than the judgment of the other fantasies. This lyric is an exceptional example of Hartmere’s extended musical conversations, as natural and unforced as dialogue, but set to a driving musical beat. Lucas, the school drug dealer, promises Peter and Jason a world where "life is as it ought to be," a fantasy world far away from the oppression and judgment of the real world. Not incidentally, the more staid Matt only decides to go once Ivy urges him to; he has an agenda in Wonderland too. But as it’s described in the lyric, Wonderland is an exciting but unreal place; Peter may find what he wants here, but it’s not real:
PARABASIS (Greek, "stepping forward" or "going aside"): A moment at the end of a Greek tragedy in which the chorus would remove their masks and step forward to address the audience directly in speech rather than song. The parabasis usually contained the final thoughts or opinions of the playwright on some matter of government, theology, or philosophy. The concluding words of the chorus in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex serve as one example.
His justification was even more tenuous than William's.
Late in this scene, we get to the "Hear My Voice" theme, which will appear periodically throughout the show. Its accompanying lyric tells us exactly what this theme represents:
William's victory was complete.
Ultimately, Claire hangs up before Peter can tell her, but we know she got the message because she now gets her soliloquy, "Warning," mourning the loss of the son she now knows she never really knew. It’s very minimalist musically, using very little musical material over and over, as Claire’s mind runs in circles. Her melody is built largely on triplets, but over an accompaniment in 4/4. Her voice works against the music; she’s lost her footing. And though for the most of the show, Claire speaks rather than sings, here her emotions pour out of her and she needs music. She goes through several emotional states. First, the recognition of the truth and the recognition of her intentional denial of it. Then her anger takes over and her music becomes harder rock (using the music Peter sang in "Best Kept Secret"); she mourns the "loss" of the son she thought she had raised. But her love for Peter is stronger than her anger, and she returns to the gentler music. But now her thoughts turn to the practical. How will she tell he ex-husband? What will other people think of her now?
That’s smart, confident writing.
Those last four words tell us so much as they quote "Silent Night." They carry on the Christ imagery swirling around both Peter and Jason throughout the show, but they also tell us something about Claire’s religion, that it comes less from the Bible than from popular culture, and perhaps that she is one of those "Christmas Catholics," who only attend church on holidays. She’s also indirectly raising herself to the martyr status of the Virgin Mary, not connected to her (ex-) husband but mother to a son who will be persecuted, even …? But she’s also (unconsciously?) making the point that now that Peter is revealed as being gay, he is no longer "tender and mild," no longer pure as he once was. Now he is sexualized in her eyes. Now, he is a cross to bear.
Harold immediately sets out on his fateful journey.
By the end, their thoughts will turn from the concrete to the abstract, from the everyday to the eternal. They will be changed by all that has happened. There has been pain but there is also hope. What hope there is back at the end of Act I is all self-delusion.