“However in the world did her skin come green?” Nanny wondered, stupidly, for Melena blanched and Frex reddened, and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all. Nanny had to slap her to make her breath again.”
― Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
And so we meet Elphaba, the baby girl who would grow up to be the Wicked Witch of the West.
Why this quote of all the options I had? It’s simple. It jumped out at me. “-and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all.” To me, it offered a stark contrast to the question “Are people born wicked?” which is a theme throughout the book. From the time she was born, this green skinned girl had to fight for things that were a given for others. I’ve heard the word- misunderstood- used to describe Elphaba and it couldn’t be more accurate. Throughout the book, the reader is shown that she wasn’t truly born wicked. More often than not her actions were misunderstood. But she never gave up- not even when she thought she had given up. This is one of the qualities I like best about Elphaba. Despite her weaknesses, she was stronger than she could ever imagine herself to be. And I believe that her wickedness was born out of necessity to survive in a world that was determined to see her as wicked.
I don’t remember being overly curious about why the Wicked Witch was wicked in the Wizard of Oz. Being one of my favorite movies from childhood, I watched it endless times but accepted that in most stories, there’s a villain and in this one it is the witch.
If you haven’t read the book, have no desire to, and love the musical, it’s all good. If you grew up with the movie and want it to stay sacred, that’s good too. Or if you’re like me and want to turn the movie, book and musical into a joint effort, overview, collection, I’m not sure of a clearer picture of what the whole story could be, that’s an option, too.
I’m terribly behind in the A to Z Challenge- Obviously. When I began this post this morning I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about Elphaba. I had chosen a handful of quotes and my plan was to see if any one quote stood out. I can tell you that it wasn’t until I saw that the SoCS was ‘joint’ that it all seemed to come together….well sort of.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday- Joint
“Are people born wicked?
Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?”
–Wicked, the Musical
This is the 2nd time Wicked finds its way into the A to Z Challenge. Last year, it appeared with D is for “Defying Gravity”. Wicked is the book by Gregory Maguire and musical based on the book, telling the story of Elphaba and Galinda, the witches from the Wizard of Oz.
I love the friendship between Elphaba and Galinda. They are polar opposites, from different worlds, vastly unique personalities- both quite strong yet vulnerable women. The story touches on many different lessons but I am always drawn back to friendship component. Watching Elphie and Galinda’s friendship grow as they discover all they have in common while learning to appreciate their differences reminds us that this is the foundation on which friendships are made.
“For Good” is about Elphaba and Galinda’s farewell as they each go their separate ways- one presumably good and one presumably wicked. It was written by Stephen Schwartz in 2003.
“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…”
“So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…
While looking for a good recording of the song- “For Good”- from Wicked, I found Out of Oz: Wicked Studio Sessions, a cool series where Wicked performers both past and present using reimagined songs.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Elphaba quotes from the musical-
- “I don’t cause commotions, I am one.”
- “I’m the other sister, Elphaba. I’m beautifully tragic.”
- “Well, we all can’t come and go by bubble.”
- “Who steals a dead woman’s shoes? Must have been raised in a barn!”
This song is doing double duty for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past:Week 17 and A to Z Challenge.
I LOVE musicals. And Wicked has to be my favorite. I’ve seen it on stage 3 times. Each and every time has been amazing. My obsession with Elphie’s story can be traced back to my childhood, watching the Wizard of Oz each year when it came on tv. When I heard that a book had come out telling the Wicked Witch’s story- Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, I knew I had to read it. It didn’t matter that I had three children, five and under and no time to read. I read that book and I loved it. And when it was made into a musical…….. sigh.
If you are a book lover, then you already know that books that are made into movies/musicals/tv shows never live up to the written word. They just can’t because there is no end to where the written word can go. A scene from a movie can give you many possibilities but it is limited to the picture it presents. You miss out on backstory and subtle nuances that are conveyed in a nicely written passage.
And Wicked was no different. BUT, the stage production was incredible and made up for any missing story line. The costumes and set were impressive. And the musical score….. it was perfection.
Defying Gravity is a powerful song. It’s an empowering song. And it’s the perfect song for a misunderstood witch.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts. Close my eyes: and leap!
You can learn more about the A to Z Challenge, here.