Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wicked x 2

[If you know nothing of the musical 'Wicked' and still plan on watching it, stop reading. You may want to read my old entries though. Just a suggestion. Feel free. Or wait until my next new entry. Which may or may not be written in the next 5 years.]

I first watched Wicked the musical when I vacationed in Chicago many years ago. I really wasn't expecting much that night – I just wanted to finally see it after hearing that it was good, won a few awards, etc, and I was happy to spend quality time with my sister Mia who worked in Illinois that time. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the most clever stories ever (versus Dirty Dancing the musical, which we also watched during that trip by the way) with a score that I thought was so ridiculously appealing and heart-wrenching. It was so effectively emotional that when the first notes of 'For Good' started, I was already bawling like a woman in labor. (Full disclosure: I have never been in labor.) (Fuller disclosure: I am always effectively emotional. Ka-boom.) To this day I cannot listen to a recording of that song without tearing up like the Pavlovian cliche that I am.

So when I found out Wicked was going to be staged here, I was excited. Maybe a little bit more than excited. Maybe I let out a tiny shriek of delight. Maybe. There is no proof of this anywhere.

There were two major differences between the Chicago version and yesterday's.

The first was, thanks to the kindness of a friend, we were able to get seats five rows away from the awesome stage. It was great being so near the actors, seeing the costume details and the twinkle in Glinda's eyes. It was magical. I think back to some local showbiz-folk–filled musicals, and I'm grateful that I didn't pay more to see poor acting up close. (Pay me and I'll tell you what I'm talking about.)

The second doozy of a difference was that I heard another version of Wicked while the play was ongoing because I was seated beside an official theater narrator for the dense. Or maybe he was just a man ... who brought his 3- or 4-year-old son.

[According to the ticket printout, children below 6 weren't supposed to be allowed in the theater, so I don't know how the parents of a child who should be watching the Disney Junior channel deemed him mature enough to handle unfortunately colored protagonists, extramarital affairs and classic unrequited love. Flying monkeys do not necessarily make a musical wholesome. Just an FYI to parents. From a nonparent.]

The young boy, who was curious of course (click here to read about another question-filled child), unceasingly asked his father 'why' throughout the show. And I mean throughout the entire show. UNDERSCORED! BOLD AND UNDERSCORED!!!
Why is she green? 
Why is she angry? 
Why did she say that? 
Why, pray tell, can't I find more similarities to the original 500-page Gregory Maguire novel that you gave me for Christmas, father? 
OK, maybe not that last one, but I promise you, it was the only question left unanswered that night.

On the one hand: What the hell, papah? Isn't it common sense to be as quiet as possible while a show is ongoing? I mean I did my share by vehemently slapping my friends when they attempted to sing along (Kidding. I used duct tape on them before the show started.) OK, to his credit, the father tried to whisper, but because my right ear was just about a foot away from his mouth, I heard everything. Looking back, I probably should've asked him to speak softer or move farther away, but I felt bad for the boy and I didn't want him to think that asking questions was wrong.

On the other hand: The guy knew the answer to everything. I was this close to asking him about how to dissolve the culture of corruption and entitlement in the Philippine political arena.

I was determined to enjoy the afternoon anyway so, being the extraordinary person that I am (BOLD AND UNDERSCORED!!!), I was able to tune out the Q&A beside me and focus on the main show.

... which might not have been the best plan after all, because I was crying so much by the last song that I was half-expecting the little boy to ask his father what in the world was wrong with the strangely emotional lady.

I'll explain it to you when you turn 6, child. Until then, just stick to adult musicals.

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