There were people everywhere. Programs were being sold and we snapped up one each, with that oh so recognizable two witches on the cover. The bar was right by the stairs that led down to the theatre doors. We had complementary drinks vouchers and decided to hold on till the intermission before getting them. "I don't want to be taking care of a glass of wine during the show" I told Yaya and she agreed. Excitement, I was sure, might cause me to spill some on my really cute white outfit.
We didn't have much time to hang around the foyer, and were soon ushered down the stairs and through, ahem
, Door 1. Yaya and I squealed excitedly at each other about that. "Door ONE!!" I looked around, determined to remember every last detail. The orchestra was warming up as we walked in, the familiar muted plinks and hoots, the sound of last minute tunings. Our seats were close to the stage, a few rows behind the orchestra pit, but not too close so that we got quite a good view of everything. Above us was the impressive Dragon Time Clock, a dragon with moving parts made of metal sheets and red glowing eyes. It would come to life 3 times during the show, moving its head from side to side and spewing smoke.
The "curtain" was an old-style brown parchment map of Oz, with the Emerald City at the center, lit by shimmering faerie light from behind. It gave off the feeling that something magical was about to take place. The set around the stage, up the sides and towards the Dragon were made to look like the vines of old trees, twisting and snaking through cogs and wheels. Each side had spiral stairs leading up to towers from which certain scenes would play out.
There was a little time to spare as we waited for the show to begin. I flipped through the program absentmindedly, knowing quite well that I wouldn't be able to absorb anything from it at that moment. There were Royal boxes up on either sides of the theatre for those who wanted an even more VIP sort of treatment (it involved champagne and macaroons). I remembered wanting to get those seats, but they were sold in batches of 4, and since Yaya and I didn't have anyone else in mind to join us, or anyone who wanted to, we went for the next best thing, the Emerald Experience. We were to get great close-up seats in the center, free drinks, and a piece of souvenir. Not a bad deal at all. Now, if only we could relocate those 2 amorous couples in front of us to another location...
The Dragon Time Clock began the show as the opening act boomed to life. The map rolled up, the music hit like a solid wall of sound, the scene was larger than life and very much in my face. "Good news! She's dead!"
they cried. I was enthralled, the widest grin ever. Every expression and breathless gasp of the characters was discernible from where we sat. The greenness of the musical's theme was prevalent everywhere, interwoven in clever ways from the subtle green pin stripes on a costume to the hidden green spotlights that flooded the stage. And the sets were layered so well to simulate an extremely 3-dimensional atmosphere. When all the lights came on suddenly during the ballroom scene, there was a collective gasp from the audience at the grandeur of it all.
And so we sat, listening to the story of how the witches of Oz came to be, watching them from their youth to adulthood, the choices that were made that finally left us with the Good Witch of the North, the Wicked Witch of the East and her ruby slippers, the Wicked Witch of the West (the star really, as this was her story), the flying monkeys, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Woodman, and Scarecrow. The Wizard's mask was another impressive piece of mechanical masterpiece. As each piece clicked into place, I couldn't help but marvel at the creativity of the talents behind the production, and their cleverness at being able to give history that made sense to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
as was first written by L. Frank Baum, and then prequeled by Gregory Maguire when he told the story of the Wicked Witch in his book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
. Was she really wicked? Things weren't all they appeared to be.
The most thrilling scene came at the close of Act 1 when the Wicked Witch learned to fly for the first time. As she rose up, singing Defying Gravity, dramatic lighting criss-crossing and wind blowing into her against a pitch black sky, I was glad I wasn't up in the Royal box. The view, I was sure, couldn't be as grand and terrifying from up there as it was from down here. Everyone was craning their necks as she slowly ascended, and as she sang the final note, broke out in a standing ovation for a good minute or more. The lights came up for intermission and people were still clapping surrounded by Dragon smoke. "O-M-G" I mouthed to Yaya. "I've got goosebumps!" she said. "Me too!"
OMG, indeed. We didn't want to leave, even though it was for a 15 minute intermission, but there were free drinks to be had. We had wine, of course, which we took back to our seats. The second act started soon after and we were treated to a final hour of spectacle that matched the first act in all ways, the defining scene for this one being, in my opinion, when the Wicked Witch pronounces herself to be "Wicked". There were many twists and turns to the story, the final one of which a secret was revealed about the Wizard himself. All in all a very emotional, intellectual experience that I was very glad to have had.
tip over the empty wine glass in the end, and a drop or two splashed into the folds of my skirts. It took me 2 days get it out, but it didn't matter. It reminded me of that night of adrenaline, having just watched one of the greatest musicals of all time.
Labels: Wicked, Wicked Singapore, Wicked the musical