musical, Sydney, Capital Theatre, philosopical thoughts

Wicked @ the Capital


This was a very impressive performance. First, the physical stage and set: the Stage didn’t extend very far out into the audience due to the necessity of having use of the orchestra pit. However, the set design did extend across the entire front of the auditorium. Description: the curtain was a map of the Land of Oz (in a Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings kind of illustration–teh Emerald City at the center.) The sides of the stage to the box seats were covered in old lumber, old pulleys and tied up bunches of rope. These all appeared to be covered in cobwebs and dust. There was also a very large mechanical “paper” dragon suspended above the proscenium. Upon further observation, you can see bits and pieces of cogs and gears (machinery.) The primary element of the physical set was the gears and faces of watches and clocks. (Time is important.) Some video projections were used to further enhance the expressive possibilities of the set. There was an excellent use of lighting and smoke to enhance the storyline.

The sound was fine, the actors clear and in tune and the orchestra strong.

The story is a retelling of Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz,” from the viewpoints of Glenda and Elfa (good and wicked witches.) It begins with a back story of their school days, the meeting of the wizard, disillusion with reality and subsequent playing out of their convictions.

The theme throughout most of the play seems to be the contradiction of what is and what seems to be (Elfa is smart and good/Glenda is shallow and power hungry.) People don’t seem to understand that and assign those roles to the opposite characters. Truth is what we choose to believe and our tragedy is to live out the lies others believe about us. Magic doesn’t really happen, it is all manipulated in a calculated, mechanical way.

Even though Glenda sings about how happiness is getting everything you want–no one gets anything they want because we live the lie, attempting to please others, gain power or both. It is also about how others will begin to believe lies if told often enough.

The constant presence of the clock faces reminds us (as the hour glass did in the original story) that time is running out. It all begs the question, “What choices will you make with the time you have left?” It is a good question. But I feel that the relativity of truth told in the musical belies a solid reason to give much of a thoughtful answer. However, the play did make me ask the question in light of my own belief in our beneficent God–who, by the way is not a man behind a curtain pulling levers and blowing smoke. God never wanted us to be happy–he wants us to be right. Joy flows out of that relationship.


We also visited the Sydney Opera House. A very beautiful and impressive place.