Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wicked and Lost in the Emerald City

It was a blustery, chilly September evening when twenty of us met outside the Paramount Theatre in Seattle's downtown district for a night of musical bamboozlement. I had a jacket on, and it was clear by the cold evening sky that autumn was now upon us. The light faded sooner and the temperature dropped even though the trees didn't show signs of losing their dignity anytime soon. Even so, within a few minutes of waiting I knew my next blog title would be both snappy and appropriate (some may say 'witty' even, but I'm just too darned modest for that you see).

'Wicked' the musical adaption of Gregory Maguire's novel was the attraction of the night, and it was a great show. The sets were larger than life, brilliantly detailed and perfectly themed. Musical numbers and actors did an admirable job and I have to recommend the show to anyone that has the chance to see it.

Having said that, I did find that the story lacked - well - intensity (gasp! doth he criticize broadway!?). Now if you're one of the guys I saw the production with, you're probably sharpening your bluntest kitchen knife right now, but I'm going to stick by my opinion. I won't spoil the story, and yes, I'm well aware it's a musical about a fairytale, but I felt that there could have been a little more development with the characters, and it could have been a little darker. Let's face it, the story is dramatic, it's dark and it's ambitious, but that didn't entirely come across and it's kinda what I wanted to see. I felt after it was over, that it was a little too pop, with not enough shadow to balance the light. That aside though, I've heard that what the musical lacks, the book delivers on, so I will be picking up a copy and giving it a squiz.

Digressing somewhat. The the trip had been organised by two groups of friends for two reasons. The first reason (and thus the first group) was responsible for the musical. The second, for a three-day music and arts festival known as Bumbershoot. It's basically what you'd get if you wanted indie acts in the spotlight, but had to lure in the general public with Katy Perry first.

So, at 5am the preceeding Saturday morning to the broadway expedition, me and two compadres were in the car heading for the border, coffee in hand, anticipation in mind. Bumbershoot had some great acts to get us excited about, but admittedly it wasn't the music that was the kicker for me this time. Indeed not, it was something geekier and altogether more awesome than that. The writers of Lost would be there. Not all of them, no, but Carlton Cuse, Adam Horovitz and Ed Kitsis, which was enough to make me giddy.

With friends beside me, we braved the wind and rain for 4 hours in the lineup to see the literary heroes of our favourite drama. We made some line-buddies of course, all of whom were lovely and were into Lost as much as we were, and it made the wait that much more bearable.

Finally we were admitted to the hall for the talk, and sitting front-and-center was pretty cool, we were not three feet from these guys, who, I might add, are every bit as charismatic and personable in real life as you would expect the writers of this show to be.

I wasn't gushing and taking photos like a crazed fanboy, but I was excited enough to shake nervously when I was able to ask them a question at the end of the session. It was one of those questions that's heavy, dark and weighs upon one's mind in a brooding way. A question that, if left unanswered, might be the undoing of a sane mind, and went thus: 'As I'm a fellow countryman of one of the characters, I worry about her wellbeing, so I have to ask: Where is Cindy, and will we ever see her and the kids again?". To which all three guys laughed. (Cindy was the Australian flight attendant seen fleetingly in the first season, and intermittently throughout the rest of the show. A turncoat who joins the Others and who's task seems to entail looking after the stolen children).

Carlton simply gave that 'I know way more than I'm going to say' smirk and leaned to the mic, answering "I think it's safe to say yes, we'll see them again.". Which I thought was rather smashing.

Soon afterward and with a signed copy of Lost Season One in hand, we left the auditorium and started the lengthy journey back to Vancouver, satisfied, and with fond memories of the past three days lingering in the collective headspace, joined by the creme de la pop music bilged into the air by a member of our party's iPod.

I won't deny singing along to the Roxette medley as the Emerald City faded behind us, and in retrospect, everything that was Wicked and Lost was pretty darned cool.


6 thoughts are now mine:

Luke said...

I have to pat myself on the back because when I read the headline I went 'I hope it has something to do with Lost'. :)

I had similar thoughts about Wicked - personally I felt there weren't enough good songs and it would've benefited from being at least 45 minutes shorter. Interesting what you have to say about being darker/intensity. It does have some darker elements, but they didn't really hit home for me either. I think her sister's story had potential to be much more emotional and tragic.

I'm jealous of your Lost experience - but I've shaked hands with Joss Whedon so consider us equal. :p Although I was too shy to ask a question (instead I just focused on not acting too weird). Did they have any other interesting tidbits about Lost?

Jimzip said...

Yes they certainly did! Unfortunately nobody had any really juicy questions to throw at them, they were mostly really dumb, for example one guy said: 'Is it true that you're the most awesome guys ever?' and a girl asked: 'If Lost were Trivial Pursuit, which categories would you most want to write for', to which I think there was a collective inward groan.

Apart from that though, I think Losties have a general mindset that the don't want to know the answers to things unless those answers happen to come up in the story. I only found this out when we were sitting there but it seemed that there were very pertinent questions that nobody wanted to ask.

One answer we did get was that Libby is done with, and we'll never get to how she got to be in the psych ward because, as Carlton put it: "Who wants to hear the story of how Libby's divorce left her in a psych ward.". Apparently her story was a bit of a dead-end so they got rid of it to avoid filler. Amen. Sad. But Amen.

I'll let you know more as I remember it! X)

Jimzip :D

Jimzip said...

Oh and did I mention that we were first in that line? I think that bears mentioning. X)

Jimzip :D

Luke said...

It's interesting, because I have got the same mindset of avoiding spoilers. My pet hate is movie previews or tv ads that give away major plot twists. It drives me insane! The only thing worse would be being a writer and having that happen to your movie/show. You work so hard to surprise people - only to have it ruined. I think The Island had one of the worst previews of any movie I've seen (granted the movie wasn't great either). The preview gave away its two major twists and showed the final scene! Argh!!!

Excited to see how they wrap Lost up - quite a challenge. I can't even guess how they're going to begin the season!

Luke said...

Sorry, just me again - had to add that I really like that main theme from Wrath of the Lich King (yes, I'm saying something nice about WoW!). Reminds me of Dual of the Fates which is also quite cool, I think.

Jimzip said...

Oh ho! So people do download the tracks! Haha. ;)

I've been hooked on that one piece for weeks now, the mood and composition are really pretty brilliant and very moving, (I'll make sure to check out Dual of the Fates too). What makes it even better is knowing the story behind it though. Did you ever play Warcraft III?

Jimzip :D

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