Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Wicked," a reinterpretation. That will blow your mind.

Not being a straight woman or a gay man, I normally don't have much interest in musical theater, but I got The Wife and me a couple of Loge seats for "Wicked" at the Orpeum last night. Overall, I'd give it like a B+. Couple of good songs, hell of a lot of stage effects, some talented cast. Could stand to lose about 30 minutes somewhere in there - 2 hours and 45 minutes makes for a long Theater Experience, especially when there are 6 grannies from Walnut Creek cackling behind you.

More interesting to me is the fact that "Wicked" is clearly a Mission vs. Marina allegory. Now, if you're not familiar, the plot essentially concerns the backstory of the witches in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." On the one hand, we have Elphaba, our Mission girl, who will grow up (to be labeled by the patriarchy) as the Wicked Witch of the West. She has body art (i.e., she's green) and doesn't get along with her parents. At school, she develops an interest in animal rights and doesn't hang out much with the cool crowd. This should remind you of someone you know by this point.

Glinda is pretty much the prototypical Marina girl. She's blonde and rich and not that smart. She makes fun of Elphaba and doesn't think anything of her right up until the time she suddenly discovers that the stuff Elphaba likes (in the musical, magic; in the real world, LCD Soundsystem and ecstasy) is actually really cool.

I will now magically turn Tecate tallboys into Midori sours!!

They become friends, but then have a falling-out over a boy (the rich guy who moves here from Manhattan). They both go to see the Wizard (the head of a tech company). He wants to exploit Elphaba's knowledge (a totally killer next-gen Web 2.0 app) but Elphaba wants to keep it real and not sell out. The Wizard goes with Glinda's lamer, but more popular app (Farmville) and Elphaba leaves Oz (the company) and goes to live in the wilderness (enrolls in the Iowa Writer's Workshop).

In the end, Elphaba hooks up with the guy and they disappear into the sunset (have kids and move to Burlingame). Glinda takes over the tech company because she can have it all. The Wizard takes a stock buyout and retires to Jackson Hole. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Now, if we could just work a Pains of Being Pure at Heart song into the play somewhere.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

This should go down in San Francisco lore. May your pageviews prosper.