Monday, March 30, 2009

Off to see the wizard

I have been off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of oz. At Madison Square Garden. Wow.

When we got there, Primo was surprised to find that it was neither square nor a garden, and all of a sudden I had a glimpse of what he’d been expecting this whole time. When your kid uses words like “magnificent” and talks about the afterlife, you can sometime forget that he’s only four, and still just a babe in the woods.

Our family doesn’t take in a lot of Broadway shows. If my mother hadn’t have paid for this one, I would have had to sell an organ to cover the tickets. But I would have gotten those tickets somehow because my son has got to be the biggest Wizard of Oz fanatic of all time. The mania started when he was 2 and my cousin gave him some old WOZ figures she found in a box in her closet. A few months later, David’s parents in Tennessee clued him in to the fact that there was a feature film which told the story of these beloved figures, with singing and dancing and Technicolor! He didn’t get up off the couch for the entire duration of the movie, which, at two years-old, was somewhat preter-natural.

I don’t know exactly what it was about the struggle of Dorothy and her misfit friends that had my young son so entranced but after he saw the movie it was all Oz, all the time, for about a year and a half. We watched every bonus feature on the deluxe anniversary DVD that his grandparents gave him for Christmas – the silent film versions of Baum’s story, cartoon versions, tales from the making of the movie, extra footage, bios of the leading actors -- you name it.

Primo’s favorite character, hands down, was the Wicked Witch of the West. When he’d get into altercations on the playground, he would threaten to throw balls of fire at his fellow toddlers. Parents were understandably aghast.

“He’s not really going to DO it,” I’d explain, “He just really loves the Wizard of Oz.”

He wore this little witch hat everywhere, to the supermarket, the park, birthday parties, and in it he was fond of cackling, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” at the slightest provocation. And the show tune he preferred to all others from that killer soundtrack was the witch’s song.

The witch doesn’t have a song, you will say. That’s what we said, too.

She does have a theme song, though, the one they play whenever she flies by on her broomstick, and this is what he was referring to. Da dun da dun da dun DUN. Da dun da dun da dun DUN. DUN DUN DUN. You know the one I mean.

After countless viewings, here’s what David and I have decided about this timeless tale.

Glenda’s a grade-A bitch. Good witch, my foot. Sure she comes down in a flawless pink bubble and she speaks with that super-refined accent but underneath all that, she’s nothing short of sadistic.

She’s the one that puts the slippers on Dorothy to begin with, then when the witch promises to murder Dorothy is cold blood, she’s all, “I’m afraid you’ve made a rather bad enemy of the witch.”

“No, Glenda,” I’d have said, “YOU’VE made me a rather bad enemy of the witch, thanks. Now would you bugger off and stay the hell away from me? I need you like I need a hole in the head.”

Early on, Glenda makes a show of being terribly beneficent and powerful by bringing on the snow when Dorothy’s asleep in the poppy field, but honestly, how much did that put her out? I bet it snows all the time in Oz. And when Dorothy’s locked in the witch’s dungeon, with the red sand of the hourglass slipping away, begging for anyone at all to help, where is Glenda then?

If it wasn’t for the hapless lion, scarecrow and tin-man, who despite lacking organs which are critical for life, manage to rescue her, Dot would be belly-up in the witch’s moat.

And here’s the kicker. Dorothy suffers like a dog for two plus hours, at the end of which she finds herself still in Oz, without a hope in the world of ever making it back to that prairie home. Guess who breezes in on her bubble with some good news?

“You’ve had the power to go home all along,” Glenda kindly informs her.

Dorothy’s a sweet kid so she doesn’t say what she certainly must be thinking:

“Really? Then why the FUCK didn’t you tell me that to begin with, beyatch? Is this some kind of sick game to you? Victim of a natural disaster ends up displaced and you sic a bloodthirsty witch on her ass, send her to a charlatan wizard and then tell her all she had to do the WHOLE TIME was click her heels? Screw you and the bubble you rode in on.”

Of course, Glenda gives Dorothy some buuuuuullshit about how she had to discover it for herself, it was all about the journey of self-discovery blah blah blah. I think any sane individual would have at least given the heel-clicking a go, just for shits and giggles, why not, before undertaking an epic odyssey with only a yellow brick road for guidance.

So that’s why David and I hate Glenda. The witch, well, she was a woman in mourning for God’s sake, and the only possession her sister bequeathed to her was basically grave-robbed. I don’t blame her one bit.

The show was great by the way. Flying monkeys, falling snow, melting witches – the whole nine yards. I highly recommend it if you’ve got a kidney you can sell.