Monday, August 11, 2014

Adventures in London: WICKED!

Tonight I finally got to see a musical I've wanted to see since my freshman year of college. Which is seven whole years ago, surprisingly. And you can probably guess which one I saw by the title of this post: Wicked! I saw it at the Apollo Theatre right outside Victoria Station, and it was FANTASTIC.
First off, the set was amazing and includes some lovely steampunk-ish gears and animatronic elements. It was pretty much the level of quality I expected from that sort of venue; that is, it was excellent. There was a dragon. And it was amazing. The actors all did a wonderful job of transferring the story that I knew (from listening to the music and geeking out with friends) onto the stage. It came to life beautifully.
As for the themes of the play itself, it was more profound than I thought it was, having only heard the music. I already realized that G(a)linda and Elphaba were set up as foils, opposites to play off of and complement each other, but I hadn't caught the theme of voices being silenced. There's the moment when Elphaba's father tells her to keep her mouth shut and not make a scene as she's arriving at the school and the animals who are losing their voices. Also, there's the idea of the truth being actively suppressed, contrasted with Elphaba's strong determination to speak up. All quite interesting. I loved all the foreshadowing that happens. Fiero sings about being empty-headed, Elphaba sings about the celebration that she foresees that'll be all about her. And there are the moments when the musical plays with the original Wizard of Oz story, whether by self-referencing or just showing what really happened. This goes along with the prominent theme of "the official story" versus "the real story".  And of course there is the love story, a fairly typical love triangle, but which is wrapped up in the much more important relationship between the two protagonists, Elphaba and Glinda. Finally, there are the choices that Elphaba and Glinda make as they grow up and become the people they decide to be. There are probably more things there, too, but those are the themes that stuck out most. 
I don't know why exactly some works of art just feel so... close to home. It's possible to enjoy plays and movies and books on a superficial value, merely for entertainment value, but sometimes, some plays or movies or books just come to life and help us come to life, too. They match up with our lives so much that they become part of us. They bring back memories or feelings and it's interesting to see how they grow with us and change as we do. It had been years since I really listened to the music, but I remembered it and the friends I knew back then. And I thought about how much I've changed and how much I haven't changed and how I've moved on with life. And life is good.
Long story short, go see the play if you have a chance.