The Real Wizard of Oz
April 25, 2014, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Human Potential | Tags: ,

“They were friends until they called one good and one wicked.” — The commercial for the hit musical, “Wicked”

I went to see “Wicked” yesterday, the story of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. The story was powerful. It fits wonderfully with the theme of The Wizard of Oz, which is personally meaningful to me. It sheds light on the challenge faced by someone who feels stigmatized (like people with mental illness, for example) and the challenge probably faced by visionaries and revolutionaries, like maybe Martin Luther King Jr. (that’s who I thought of during the play, but my historical knowledge is limited).

I emphasize “story line” because I did not appreciate the musical as a whole. I did not like the loud music and felt it was hard to understand what the characters said when they sang their words. In a way I was glad to see that money did not buy me something really valuable that some people (on the surface) cannot afford, or that I can only afford very rarely (I’m on disability, but I’ve never made a lot of money). I say, “on the surface” because I don’t think money can keep someone from experiences that will really benefit him. I think everyone gets everything he needs to be who he is meant to be, whether it’s a musical or being expelled from school.

Anyway, the story line definitely delivers based on the tagline of the television commercial that made me feel I HAD to see it the last time it was in Richmond. I didn’t give in and buy a ticket until this time. “They were friends until they called one good and one wicked,” the commercial says. That line stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. That was when “Wicked” came to Richmond two years ago. I heard a voice say, “wicked” maybe a month ago. A couple days later I saw the television commercial saying “Wicked” was back.

I feel the message of the musical is important to me and humanity. The story deals with separation not unlike the racial separations in American or world history. Separation is apparently an issue for mankind. I guess the issue gets buried somehow.

I feel like all the pomp and circumstance of going to the musical–people getting dressed up, the expensive tickets, people taking their kids to help them progress along the lines that society dictates–can mask the underdog’s tale underneath it all that seems to clash with the pomp. Why else would the musical be so popular, but the message seem so unpopular in everyday life? I assumed yesterday that the musical must be popular for the pomp–the big deal made over a musical–because people in general seem so unaffected by the revolutionary tone of it and other art, including children’s stories. As I write this I see another reason the message seems missed by the average person: The message speaks to something deep within, a thing that gets overlooked when people get wrapped up in  the ways of the world, such as being as rich or good looking or successful as the next person.

It’s hard for me to consistently see that society (or “the crowd”) IS “The Wizard of Oz” and has no power, no brain, heart or courage to offer because those things can only be discovered within. Despite children’s stories like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Engine That Could” and The Neverending Story, I always thought of myself as the ugly duckling with no happy ending compared to other kids. Still today I think of myself as a mentally ill person, or a weird person, or a friendless person and on and on. If I feel defined by those labels society offers, how can I believe in myself enough to not get wrapped up in the societal comparisons and expectations? I hope to realize one day, as Tin Man, Scarecrow, etc. did, that I already have everything I need. Society and popular opinion are only as reliable as I think they are.

“Wicked” is based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of The West by Gregory Macguire. I plan to read it one day. (Other books by Macguire may also contribute to the musical, I’m not sure.)


7 Comments so far
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“because I don’t think money can keep someone from experiences that will really benefit him. I think everyone gets everything he needs to be who he is meant to be, whether it’s a musical or being expelled from school.”

This is an interesting topic that I’ve thought about quite a bit actually, and I’m still trying to figure it out. Like if everyone does have their place and is given what they need to fulfill their role, then where do the horrible people fit in? Like the serial killers and rapists and child abusers? What is their purpose in this world? I’ve thought about it in the sense of the yin and the yang, i.e. needing the bad in order to have the good, but some of the things in this world can be very hard to justify as having a positive impact.

And yes, in my experience with people with mental illnesses, the labels tend to do more harm than good. The psychology world means well, but can be very misguided at times.

Comment by MindfuLust

I would love to hear your answer to this question. Where do horrible people fit in? I will try to answer this from the perspective of a person with mental illness (in a separate post), how do I feel I fit in? I have appreciated “deviants” or “bad people” like rappers and even the rebellious or non-compliant kids I’ve worked with so I think horrible people have a place. “horrible people”–very funny.

Comment by Enlustered

Mindfulust, make sure to read my second reply, I may not do a separate post.

Comment by Enlustered

The short answer is that I think some people struggle out loud with trying to be “good” (and valuable as human beings) as society dictates and some people struggle quietly. Their experiences all reflect the central human struggle to really being who they are/who they were meant to be. All those people’s stories tell us something about that central experience of life on this Earth, even if the people get stuck being someone they are not: serial killers and people trying to be “good” are both being who they are not. I have a lot of experience being who I am not, but I’m trying to break free. And I guess I’m saying in the comment that you quoted that I think I’ll be helped that I am often helped toward that end. Anyone else who seeks to really be themselves would be helped too in my view.

Comment by Enlustered

Yea I’d definitely agree with what you said that those people are not being who they really are. (although this is also assuming that we have a predestined ‘who we are’, which is definitely debatable).

But then it just begs the question of why there are so many of them then? If they’re not being who they really are, then why not? Why do they exist? They fit into our current mold of society in some way or another, or at least are a product of it. So most likely the issue lies in society itself..

Comment by MindfuLust

“the issue lies in society itself.” Of course I think that MindfuLust. I’m writing about this now, trying to. 🙂 I appreciate you asking such a “good” question, one that made me think some more.

Comment by Enlustered

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