Monday, March 5, 2012

All right! All Rise!

I was planning to compose a few words about this event but I felt it's better to let the graphics do the talking...


Thursday, March 1, 2012


Before my flight back to Manila from my adventures of the Great City of the Merlion, I recieved a text from a friend.

His Text: How was Wicked?

Me: Who's Wicked?

His Text: No one. I'm talking about the Musical Idiot!

Me: Oh Shit! I forgot!

So there I was, sitting at Changi Airport forgetting that Singapore is the only southeast Asian country playing the musical... and missing the opportunity to watch it.

I'm not really the play/musical guy... I guess that's the reason why it went in and out of my head faster than I can say "Oz!".

The last play I've seen was more than 10 years ago when my highschool Filipino teacher asked us (or I think we were forced) to watch El Fili in exchange for an easy A on a class project.

Since I'm turning a new leaf though, sort of my "new-you" thing, I decided to try and turn it up a notch by displaying that I too can play a little with the few which we call "alta's". Unfortunately, my first try at flying with the elite was crashed by my sheer forgetfulness bordering on stupidity.

So to satisfy my curiosity, I checked trusty "Wiki" about it while I'm waiting for my flight back home.

The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz: Elphaba, the misunderstood girl with emerald-green skin, and Galinda, later Glinda, the beautiful, ambitious and popular blonde. Wicked tells the story in which these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North while struggling through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace. The plot begins before and continues after Dorothy's arrival from Kansas and includes references to locations, events, characters and situations from both the 1939 film and Baum's novel.

While the citizens of Oz celebrate the death of the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda descends onto the stage in her bubble to confirm the circumstances of the Witch's melting. She recalls that the green-skinned Elphaba was conceived during an affair between the erstwhile Munchkin Governor's wife and a mysterious stranger with a bottle of green elixir. Everyone was repulsed by Elphaba from birth, so Glinda asks the Ozians to empathize. The remainder of the plot forms an extended flashback through the events of Glinda's and Elphaba's lives.

At Shiz University, the pair first meet amongst students reuniting with their friends. Elphaba is hardly surprised that all the students, including the popular but shallow Glinda (then named Galinda), revile her. The only reason that Elphaba is sent to Shiz is to take care of her beautiful, wheelchair-bound younger half-sister Nessarose, who is presented with a bejeweled pair of Silver Shoes, being her father's favorite. Despite Elphaba and Galinda's instant mutual loathing, Madame Morrible, Shiz's headmistress, makes them roommates. Elphaba had been excluded from Madame Morrible's Sorcery Seminar, but when Elphaba reveals an innate magical talent in sudden anger, Morrible notes that her talents may be of use to the Wizard of Oz. Elphaba dreams of what she and the Wizard could accomplish together. Galinda and Elphaba later write home about their unfortunate room-mate assignments. The students gather in a history class taught by Doctor Dillamond, a Goat and Shiz's only Animal professor, who keeps mispronouncing Galinda's name as "Glinda". After dismissing the class upon the discovery of an anti-Animal slogan on the blackboard, Doctor Dillamond confides in Elphaba that something is causing the Animals of Oz to lose their powers of speech. Elphaba believes that the Wizard is the only one who can help.

Fiyero, a Winkie prince, then arrives at Shiz and immediately impresses his own brand of mindless, cavalier and carefree living on the students. Besotted with Galinda, a Munchkin named Boq asks her to accompany him to a party at the Ozdust Ballroom, but having felt "perfect together" with Fiyero, Galinda asks him to invite Nessarose instead. Nessarose, not realising Galinda's real motives for getting Boq to ask her out, is delighted, and tells Elphaba that she wishes she could repay Galinda somehow. Later, Galinda discovers a black pointed hat in a box and gives it to Elphaba as a mock present. Elphaba, remembering how happy Galinda had made Nessarose (and not realising that she had ulterior motives), asks Madame Morrible to reconsider Galinda in her Sorcery Seminar, in return. When, however, Elphaba arrives to the party wearing the hat, she is only ridiculed. Defiant, she proceeds to dance alone without musical accompaniment. Feeling guilty, Galinda joins her, marking the start of their friendship. Meanwhile, Boq convinces Nessarose that it was not pity that prompted him to ask her out, but the fact that she is "so beautiful", not realizing the full extent of Nessarose's affections towards him. Back in their dorm, Elphaba tells Galinda that her mother had been fed milk-flowers to prevent her second child from being born green-skinned; the milk-flowers instead caused Nessarose to be born prematurely, which left her crippled whilst her mother died in childbirth. Feeling sympathetic, Galinda decides to give Elphaba a personality makeover, making her admirable to fellow students. The next day, Doctor Dillamond is abruptly taken away by Ozian officials. The new history teacher arrives with a caged lion cub as the subject of an in-class experiment, revealing that Animals are to be kept in a new invention he has created (cages), which removes their power of speech. He reveals that soon all Animals will be turned dumb, and Elphaba is outraged. She and Fiyero steal the cub and set it free, and as Elphaba begins to discover romantic feelings towards Fiyero, she personally reafirms that she "wasn't born" to be loved. Madame Morrible finds her, announcing that Elphaba has been granted an audience with the Wizard in the Emerald City.

At the train station, Galinda, Fiyero, Nessarose and Boq see Elphaba off, all happy for her accomplishment. When it becomes apparent that Boq is not genuinely interested in Nessarose, Galinda feels guilty and suggests that Boq is not the right person for Nessarose, who in turn insists that it is herself "that's not right." Elphaba expresses concern about leaving her younger sister, but a protesting Nessarose insists she will manage without her and leaves. In an attempt to impress Fiyero, Galinda announces that she will change her name to "Glinda" in honor of Doctor Dillamond's persistent mispronunciation. Fiyero fails to notice and leaves. Glinda breaks into tears. Feeling badly for Glinda, Elphaba invites her along to see the Wizard. After a day of bonding and sightseeing in the Emerald City, Elphaba and Glinda meet the Wizard. Eschewing the special effects he employs for the benefit of most visitors, he invites Elphaba to join him. As a test, he asks that Elphaba give his monkey servant, Chistery, the ability to fly using the Grimmerie – an ancient book of spells. Elphaba demonstrates an intrinsic understanding of the lost language contained in the book, and successfully gives Chistery wings. The Wizard then reveals a cage full of winged monkeys, proving the extent of Elphaba's powers, and remarks that they will make good spies to report any subversive Animal activity. Realizing that she has been used and that the fraudulent Wizard and Madame Morrible are responsible for the Animals in Oz losing their power of speech, a horrified Elphaba runs away with the Grimmerie. Glinda goes after her, pursued by the palace guards. She runs to the tallest tower, where they hear Madame Morrible declaring to Oz that Elphaba is a "Wicked Witch" and not to be trusted. Elphaba enchants a broomstick to fly and almost convinces Glinda to join her in her cause, but Glinda cannot resist the call of popularity as one of the Wizard's assistants, and refuses. Leaving Glinda behind and escaping the guards, Elphaba flies off towards the western sky, promising to fight the Wizard with all her power.

A few months have passed and Elphaba's opposition of the Wizard's regime has earned her the title "The Wicked Witch of the West". Rumor has it that the witch's soul is so impure that pure water could melt her. Glinda, now the Wizard's assistant and adored by everyone, pronounces herself engaged to Fiyero. Informing him that he has to accept the fact that Elphaba does not want to be found, Glinda puts on a happy front despite Fiyero's waning affections.

Meanwhile, Elphaba arrives at her old home, the Governor's residence in Munchkinland, seeking refuge. Nessarose is the Governor now, and laments that her father "died of shame" after Elphaba rebelliously defied the Wizard. She criticizes Elphaba for not using her new-found powers to help her own sister. Guilty, Elphaba enchants Nessarose's jeweled shoes, turning them into the ruby slippers and enabling her to walk. Boq is summoned, and he bemoans that Nessarose is as "wicked" as Elphaba for stripping the Munchkins of their rights and prohibiting them from leaving Munchkinland. Nessarose explains that she did this to keep Boq with her, but is sure that he will stay with her of his own accord now that she is no longer crippled. However, Boq insists that he should now be free to pursue Glinda instead, going so far as to brandish a knife when his "Madame Governor" refuses to let him go. Hurt and angry, Nessarose attempts to cast a spell from the Grimmerie to make Boq lose his heart to her, however her ability to understand the Lost Language of Spells is not as good as her sister's, and she mispronouces the magic words which causes Boq to literally lose his heart. While Elphaba attempts to save him, Nessarose reflects on how being "alone and loveless" has led to her wicked actions, and fears that she deserves her infamous new title ("The Wicked Witch of the East"). Elphaba says that nothing will ever be enough for her younger sister and leaves her for good, despite Nessarose's frantic pleas for her sister to stay. When Boq wakes up, he is horrified to discover that Elphaba has transformed him into a Tin Man, so he could live without a heart, and a desperate Nessarose lays the entire blame on her sister while Boq runs away in horror, believing that Elphaba has cursed him for leaving her sister.

Returning to the Wizard's palace, Elphaba tries to free the remaining winged monkeys. The Wizard attempts to regain her favor by agreeing to set them free, recounting how the Ozians hailed him as the Wonderful Wizard when he first came to Oz in a balloon from America. He explains that she could, likewise, be hailed by everyone if she joins him. Upon discovering the now-speechless Doctor Dillamond amongst the monkeys, however, Elphaba rejects his offer. While attempting to escape, she bumps into Fiyero, who runs away with her, confirming that he loves her in return. Glinda sees this and is crestfallen that she has been betrayed by those closest to her. When Glinda states that Elphaba can be lured by spreading a rumor that Nessarose is in danger, the fiendish Madame Morrible creates a cyclone that brings Dorothy's house to Oz and crushes Nessarose to death. During this, Fiyero and Elphaba express their love in a dark forest, but Elphaba senses that her sister is in danger. Before she flees to help, Fiyero explains to Elphaba that his family has an empty castle far away. He promises her she can hide there and that he will go to join her. She then flies to Nessarose, but she is too late, arriving just as Glinda sends Dorothy and Toto off along the Yellow Brick Road. The palace guards capture Elphaba, but Fiyero intervenes, allowing Elphaba to escape before surrendering himself. The guards drag him to a nearby cornfield to be tortured or even killed, unless he tells them of Elphaba's whereabouts. At the castle, Elphaba tries to cast any spell she can to save Fiyero, but thinking she has failed, she begins to accept her reputation as "wicked".

Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Boq – now the Tin Man – and the Cowardly Lion are sent to kill Elphaba. It is revealed that the Cowardly Lion is the lion cub Elphaba set free; Boq claims that she turned him into a coward by not letting him fight his own battles. Meanwhile, Elphaba captures Dorothy, refusing to release her until she relinquishes Nessarose's ruby slippers – the only things left of her dead sister. Glinda travels to Elphaba's castle to warn her of the trouble and persuade her to let Dorothy go. Although Elphaba refuses, the two women forgive each other for all grievances, acknowledging they have both made mistakes. Elphaba makes Glinda promise not to clear her name and to take charge in Oz, allowing Elphaba to disappear. The two friends embrace for the last time before saying goodbye forever. Immediately after, when Dorothy throws a bucket of water on Elphaba, the witch appears to melt away. Glinda, not quite sure what has happened, sees that all that remains of her friend is her black hat and a vial of green elixir. Back at the Emerald City, Glinda reminds the Wizard that he has an identical bottle, and it is revealed that the Wizard is Elphaba's father, being the stranger with whom her mother had an affair. Madame Morrible surmises that Elphaba had special powers because she was a child of both Oz and the outside world. Glinda orders the Wizard to leave Oz in his balloon and sends Madame Morrible to prison before preparing to face the citizens of Oz, returning to the opening scene of the show.
Meanwhile, Fiyero had in fact been turned into the Scarecrow when Elphaba had cast spells, therefore saving him from the Ozian guards' spears in the cornfield. He opens a trap door in Elphaba's castle, down which she had descended, only pretending to die for the benefit of the others. While Elphaba and Fiyero leave Oz forever, Glinda continues her bittersweet celebration with the citizens of Oz. They gaze up at the sky, individually appreciating their true friendship and acknowledging that they have changed for the better because they knew each other.