I think that's a healthy response. Not the turning off the TV, the being terrified by flying monkeys. Monkeys are not supposed to fly. Evolution has relegated them to running, crawling, walking, and swinging critters. Wings are not supposed to be be part of the equation.
Don't trust anyone who's not afraid of flying monkeys.
Fortunately, they don't terrify the
Tonight The GF and I caught the national touring production of Wicked. It's a fantastic show, and the best Broadway production I've seen in Seattle in years.
The show is intense, complicated, dark, and amazingly funny.
It tells the back story of the Glinda the Good Witch and the Elphaba the Wicked Witch, from The Wizard of Oz. It's a show about moral ambiguity, the importance of maintaining a healthy skepticism of what others say, and how appearances are rarely what they seem.
In addition to the witchs' backgrounds, the show answers other questions from the Wizard of Oz, such as how those damn monkeys got their wings, why those ruby slippers were so important, how the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion got the way they are, and just what was up with that freak tornado.
The story telling is excellent. With everything that happens, you would expect the plot to be complicated -- and you would be right. Despite that, I had no trouble following it. It's well paced, and the complicated stuff was clearly articulated. It may have been a little heavy on exposition in parts, but I'm okay with that.
The music and singing were fantastic. Words did get lost from time to time, but not so much that it was impossible to keep up, and they did a better job articulating than in many musicals.
The sets were creatively and effectively used in a small space. Familiar elements changed into other elements over the course of the evening. Even when I knew I was looking at the same set piece used in a different context, it still became a different item.
One of the effects I did not care for though, and I'm not even sure it was an effect. Towards the big climax right before intermission, with noise, lights, and smoke machines going, suddenly I heard the "Whooooooooooooooooop Whoooooooooooooooooop Whoooooooooooooooop" and saw the flashing white lights at the exit signs that all scream "Fire Alarm!" No one moved.
I'm 90% sure that was the theater fire alarm going off. But no one stopped the show, no guests started to leave, and as the song ended, so did the alarm. There was no follow up announcement.
There are a couple things that seem likely to me. Either the smoke machines on stage set off the alarm somehow, or they actually used it as part of the show.
If it's the latter, I have two problems with that. First, it was distracting. Instead of focusing on the show, the fire alarm took me out of the play. I was looking for exits and watching the crowd to make sure we could get out without being trampled. And I was wondering what was going on.
The other problem is that they were, in fact, yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and we all know that's a bad idea. There was tremendous risk in doing that.
So I'm hoping it was just a coincidental false alarm.
But I got back into the show once the"crisis" was past.
The show is hysterical. Typically heavy shows will have one character or a couple scenes specifically for the comic relief. Everyone gets to take a break for a few minutes and laugh. In Wicked they don't quite do that. Instead, the puns, snappy comebacks, sight gags (Glinda has a great shoe collection) and one liners are spread throughout the show. It's a delicate balancing act and they did a fantastic job of being funny without being silly.
I could probably do a lengthy post everyday for a week discussing the different levels of meaning and themes entwined in the plot, but I'll spare you that for now. Here is a list of just some of themes in the show:
- Animal rights
- Value of friendship
- Gullibility of the public
- The challenges of getting what you want
- Appearances can be deceiving
- Kids can be cruel
- The risks of following your conscience
- Risks of jumping to conclusions
- Following your heart versus doing the "right" thing
So go. This is a great show. I would suggest reading the story first. I looked it up here before I went to the show. You should be able to follow it without the back ground, but I still find it helpful.
Wicked plays in Seattle through early October.