Friday, December 16, 2011

Wicked the Musical

I finally got to watch Wicked after missing it thanks to a tube breakdown the last time. It was nothing short of phenomenal. The Australian cast was fantastic, but the succession of beautiful, super-intricate set pieces and costumes really took my breath away. In performance, the devil is in the details as they say; the slightest twitch of the lips or eyebrow conveys a muted depth of emotion, a subtly balanced array of textures, colours and shapes complicates the mise en scene. Wicked takes this to a whole new level; the set and costume designs immediately draws you into the world of the play, a world obviously fantastical, yet one so cleverly logical with its own scheme of things.

The play is really a piece of art where the eye is never left unentertained. In the first half of the show, the supporting dancers/singers in the school scenes and the party scene were costumed in navy and white, and the audience is lead to focus on the lead characters, who were dressed in a different, outstanding colour (Pink and reds, I think.) Looking at the "uniforms" of the students and dancers revealed however that no two costumes were the same; hemlines were different, collars were different, silhouettes were different even, although everything was pinstriped and they had on either a jacket or a vest. This visually depicted the theme of individuality versus conformity early in the show, to be reflected again albeit more dramatically in the zillion green hues of the inhabitants of the Emerald City; all green but all very different in their varying choices of fashion and footwear. I was really pleased to be able to photograph some of the costumes on display outside the theatre. Apparently, there were more exhibits of Glinda's and Elphaba's dresses in Robinsons but I didn't have the time to go there last night, perhaps this necessitates another trip to MBS next week!

Custom made footwear!

Green with envy thinking about how many skilled seamstresses Susan Hilferty had to help make this dress! (And of course, how she managed to dream up this beauty in the first place. Her talent is astounding.)

Also found some behind-the-scenes videos about the costume making process:

Check out her wonderfully inspiring sketches here and also a useful article on costume design grad school here. I highly recommend that everyone goes to watch it; if not for the design, for the brilliance of the script and performance!