I’ve posted this before on the other blog, but felt it necessary to post here as well…
I fell in love with Elphaba Thropp. I didn’t mean to or want to, it just happened.
About 10 years ago I was traveling for work and ran into a girl I had went to college with. She’s a fellow Designer and we’ve always been really close, especially in taste. We had lunch and ended up discussing movies (always ends up there with me) and music, and eventually books. I read a lot. I’ll read anything too. Everything from “Water for Elephants” to “World War Z” to H.P. Lovecraft to the Bible (I also watch Fox News… can’t argue if you don’t understand both sides of the argument right?). She had just finished “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire and was pretty adamant that I read it. In fact, she left lunch, bought a copy of the book and tracked me down to give it to me before I left town.
That was it, I was obligated to read it. I started the book on the plane, but it put me right to sleep. Slow as dirt and I just couldn’t get into the characters. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m cursed with the inability to quit. Anything. I can’t quit. Fucking anything. With that spelled out, I had to finish the book. After a week at home, I picked the book back up. I reluctantly finished it within the week.
After getting through it, for some reason, I got a little depressed. I kept going back to specific parts of the book in my head. Trying to remember exactly what happened and why. I found myself asking people who had read it if they remembered, but no one could answer my specific inquiries. I couldn’t let it rest, so I picked it back up and started reading it a second time.
This time I couldn’t put it down. Could not. Would not.
I finished it a second time over the weekend. Insomnia has it’s perks. This time, I read it thoroughly, paying attention to the characters, the nuances of the plot and the development of the story as it paralleled The Wizard of Oz.
Up until this point, I’d never been so invested in a single character in any book I’d ever read that I felt that if I read it again, maybe something would change. Maybe I missed something and there was a happy story there that I just wasn’t able to pull out. Within 6 months, I ended up reading the entire book four full times. Each and every time, I fell a little more in love with Elphaba.
I’m drawn to tragic, fucked up souls. Broken, downtrodden, in need of fixing kind of people. The emotionally destroyed or handicapped… this is my crowd. I’m also an emotional sponge of sorts, sucking up their sorrow and eating it as if it’s my own. It’s taxing… it’s exhausting, but it’s what I am and at this point in my life, it’s easier to run with it than it is to avoid it. Elphaba is the perfect metaphor for this attraction. A horribly disturbing childhood complete with a drug addicted adulteress mother who came from wealth only to end up in squalor. The father, blinded by religion and disgust for the daughter he feels is the manifestation of the punishment for all his sins as a man of faith. The siblings who she must both take care of and hide within their shadows. Oh, and she’s fucking green.
The story takes her from birth through death and all the train wreck that lies between. Love, life and the complete disregard for her own happiness. Despite all this, I fell in love.
Skip to 2011, and I’ve read the book at least 15 times. At any given moment, about six months pass, and I’m like a secret CIA assassin reaching for his copy of “Catcher in the Rye”. I’m a total fanboy. I’ve bought the book at least a dozen times for friends and relatives.
No one ever reads it on my recommendation.
My sister did get to see it in New York in the Musical form and she fell in love with it on the stage. She agreed to read the book if I went with her to see the play. I go to a reasonable amount of plays and musicals as well, so this wasn’t out of the question. Last year, my sister seized the opportunity and took my mother and I to see “Wicked”.
I was kind of excited. One of my favorite books in live form? Awesome right? Donna Vivino was playing Elphaba and from what I had read prior to the performance, she was stellar in her portrayal. Color me double pumped.
Finally, the day arrived. My excitement was at its peak… it was also short lived.
By the end of the first act, I was nauseous. It was NOT tragic. It was NOT heart breaking. It WAS fucking “Grease”. I felt betrayed. I found myself sitting through intermission trying to pull myself together. It’s just a musical. Get a grip.
By the beginning of the second act, I was full on crying. By the end of the performance, I felt like I was drawing a crowd. I’m a little bitch when it comes to stuff like this so fuck you for judging me. When I get involved in something, I give everything. I hold nothing back. If you’re one of those people who suppress your emotions because you’re afraid of what someone else might say or think, you’re doing life wrong. Seriously. What’s the point?
Back to my tears… I’m talking 5 year old girl watching her pet bunny get torn to shreds by the neighbor’s Rottweiler crylng. Donna Vivino was amazing. Her vocal performance was breathtaking. I tried to enjoy it, I really did. I promise.
But alas, I’d rather’ve been ass-raped with a bowling pin, lube-free, than sit through the entire musical. Seeing as I was with my sister who really wanted me to see it and enjoy it as she had, I stomached the monstrosity to the best of my ability.
I left the theater physically ill. Physically fucking ill.
Total truth, sitting through that musical is one of the worst moments of my life. If I could take it back, I would. For three hours I watched an entire audience blindly enjoy my beloved Elphaba turned into a comedic circus monkey, organ grinder in hand, tipping her fez for treats, coming of age and cracking quips about being green. Fuck you. Fuck every single one of you who enjoyed that horrible piece of shit.
If I’d have known what they were doing to my Elphaba, I would have stayed home. I’d have kept my love affair tragic, dark and full of despair with a heavy dose of heartbreak.
I’d also like to point out this was the last Musical I have ever attended. Will ever attend. AND, given the opportunity, I’d unleash ebola on the set of “Glee” out of pure principle.
If you’ve seen the Musical “Wicked”, but never read the book “Wicked”, don’t. And don’t ever speak to me about it. Ever. Just don’t.
If you’ve read the book, but never seen the Musical, DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE