An Experience with Wicked

By justine win

Wicked - Project IloiloSo much happened before Dorothy dropped in. Everyone knows about the Wizard of Oz, but what about the untold story of the Witches of Oz? This is what the UPV Choristers wanted to narrate to their audience but in a more creative and entertaining manner: through a musical play. The UPV Choristers—which are composed of 31 young and talented members, together with their two amazing directors, Kevin Piamonte and Robert “Bobby” Rodriguez—staged their own take of the world-famous Broadway show, Wicked, on March 6 and 7, 2015 at the UPV auditorium.

I went to watch the 6 pm show on March 6 with excitement since it was my first musical play to attend. Upon entering the hall, the guests were assisted by the approachable ushers and usherettes, making sure that there would be no trouble for us to find a seat. Fortunately, and probably because it was a weekday, there was enough room in the 700-seater venue for everyone to enjoy the show with comfort.

The stage setting was not that elaborate, though with the hanging curtains, a huge clock and the painted city as the background, it was sufficient enough to serve the story the performers are telling. The changing of props and background was minimal as well, but considering that this is a local adaptation of the show, the set still managed to support the different scenes. The lighting was also adequate, and was able to follow the characters frolicking around the stage.

Wicked - Project IloiloThe actions were not in sync and the blank facial expressions among the supporting actors were visible even without the limelight on them. However, the main ones were able to put up a powerful front giving us nothing but dynamic movements and vocals throughout the show. Glinda, starred by Modjelen Misme Elphaba, showed up as the complete package, swimming through the notes while cracking out her witty vibe. Both Elphaba (Ida Fuentespina) and Fiyero (Jasper Ruby Vijar) have missed the high notes at times, but they made up for it with their astounding and convincing performances.

The microphone stands, which were set up in the front, offered good volume and clear audio but perhaps the use of lapel microphones would extend their mobility. The powerful voice plus the sharp diction of the characters are bonuses, but somehow I found myself drowning when the group struggles to find a solid harmony. One microphone stand had some technical issues, and I was hoping they would replace it on the second set, but considering the allotted break time was minimal, not having the glitch fixed is understandable.

It is noteworthy that chemistry exists between the characters. Fiyero and Elphaba have stirred some romance, while the scene wherein Elphie and Glinda had to part gave us a moment to take out our hankies and wipe a tear aside. “Defying Gravity”, which is one of the most anticipated soundtracks of the show, was properly executed but a little improvement on the last high note would make it more astounding, which should have matched the brilliance of Elphie’s acting skills.

Wicked - Project Iloilo

Finishing the show, the UPV Choristers shared with us one of the best Broadway shows there is with a lesson to ponder on: are you as willing as Elphaba to be considered the “bad witch” just to carry out your good intentions? Can you be just like any other witches, or can you be Wicked?

(Photos by Thongenn Lanz Patiam)