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.

First Morning, Sydney, 2nd Day


So, just like every time I travel overseas, I woke up early this morning. The flight over to Australia doesn’t count, because we all woke up on the plan around 5 AM to eat breakfast before arriving in Sydney. I digress.

So the hotel where we are staying is called the Hyde Park Inn. It is directly across from Hyde Park. The park is a beautiful place of green in a major metropolitan area. In the center of Hyde Park is the ANZAC Memorial, a large art deco building completed in 1932 that is dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand armed servicemen and their sacrifices during the wars of the last two centuries.

Now I will mention the sketch. Six years ago when I couldn’t sleep in Porto Rafti, Greece, I got up, made some coffee and sat out on our apartment balcony. It happened to face east, and I watched the sun rise over a ridge of hills behind Harding’s permanent campus–The Artemis. The sun rose directly in front of our balcony. I was surprised and pleased to find out that our eighth floor balcony at the Hyde Park Inn points exactly the same direction, albeit on the other side of the world and the opposite hemisphere. So I couldn’t resist getting my sketchbook out and doing my first sketch, once again of the beginning of a new (but familiar) adventure. This time, the sun shown through the construction of a new high rise building just on the other side of the lush green of the park. trees