Defying Gravity: The many versions of love in Wicked: The Untold Story of The Witches of Oz
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It's not all cackling and broomsticks - Wicked also deals with affairs of the heart! Based on the celebrated novel by Gregory Maguire that re-imagined the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Wicked tells a riveting, untold story of an unlikely but powerful friendship between two sorcery students. To the land of Oz, they become known as Glinda The Good - played by Savannah Stevenson - and the Wicked Witch of the West, played by Emma Hatton. As the plot unfolds, the audience are exposed to a world of propaganda, disappointment and magic. But add to this several doses of love, and you’ll have yourself a very real narrative of itself. Whilst love is in the air with Valentine's near approaching, let's explore this a little... Love between friends Elphaba and Glinda's friendship got off to an extremely rocky start - but don't many great ones? They are polar opposites. One has green skin and is unpopular amongst her peers; the other doesn't and is adored. One is magically gifted; the other isn't and wishes that she was, which does little to bring the pair closer. And, almost needless to say, they clash despite being room mates at university. Their turning point comes via the very dishy Prince Fiyero; their shared love interest, albeit unwittingly so. Elphaba arrives and is immediately the subject of ridicule, the embodiment of ‘uncool’ and to everyone's further amusement, she even begins to dance! Amidst his guests' laughter, Fiyero comments "I'll give her something, she doesn't give a twig what anyone else thinks". To this, Glinda swiftly and passionately replies, "yes she does, she just pretends not to" before joining Elphaba on the dancefloor in a stirring attempt to lessen her humiliation. See, up until this point, the ladies may not have got on like a house on fire but at the very least, there’s an understanding and deep rooted affinity which audience get to watch bloom. Don’t Mess With My Man There is a juicy love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda and Fiyero. Glinda takes a shine to him from the very beginning and, for a while, the feelings appear to be mutual. However, sparks soon begin to fly between Elphaba and Fiyero. This is particularly heart-warming because Elphaba is ostracised and primarily an unloved character, yet is so very lovable. She is not the traditional, obvious candidate for getting 'the guy'. Even she nods to a love doomed fate as Hutson warbles an empassioned delivery of "I'm Not That Girl". Putting aside the spells, Grimmeries, magical cities and yellow brick roads for one moment, I’d like to acknowledge the teen dynamic which fortifies Wicked, making the plot fresh, relatable and all the more enchanting. I sat there, absorbing Elphaba’s plight with her disesteemed high school status. For a while, I briefly reflected on my own, similar experiences and quietly willed her to get ‘the guy’ like I eventually did - gently rubbing my wedding ring. When Fiyero and Elphaba share their explosive first kiss (below) after defying all laws of man and rescuing a baby lion from captivity, she utters her benediction “for the first time I feel…wicked!”.
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