The night before we left for our trip north, we had the amazing privilege of seeing the Los Angeles production of Wicked with our very dear friends. Many people had told us how incredible this show is and we had heard over and over again how we just HAD to go and see it. Of course, nights out at the theater are not the norm for us, so while we had both shared a strong desire to see the show, we did not have any real, concrete expectation that we would.
Well, it surpassed even my highest expectations which felt surprising considering all the hype. The night was magical, and the next morning I just could not help myself from showing a few YouTube scenes to Mercy. The flying monkeys and the big talking Wizard head certainly caught her attention, but her imagination was most captured by the relationship between Glinda and Elfeba as they sang a sad goodbye to one another.
Wicked tells “the untold story of the Witches of Oz”, and the friendship between the two witches really turns the story of the Wizard of Oz on its head. And so it was interesting the other day when Mercy stumbled across the Wizard of Oz book in the van that good friends had loaned to us for our trip. It is a book filled with pictures along with the text, and so she sat in her carseat while we drove, flipping through the story.
At one point, Mercy started asking me questions about the Wizard of Oz story and I was answering them according to the original text. Mercy was growing increasingly agitated in the back seat. Finally she cried out in exasperation: “But Mommy, you are not understanding me!” “Mercy, what am I not understanding?” I asked, genuinely confused. “But Mommy, the witches LOVE each other.”
And then her frustration made sense. She was trying to make sense of the story I was telling her but it was in such clear contradiction to what she knew to be true based on Wicked. And I was stuck. I could not get the one story across without violating the other.
Last night during bath-time, Mercy had me tell her the Wicked story three times. For my daughter, a green-skinned, misunderstood friend has captivated her far more than a little Kansas girl and her dog.