Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wicked Thoughts and Wicked Tunes

My two-week vacation over Christmas and New Year was a chance for me to mull things over. My professional life is at a crossroads; I want to move on, but I don’t know where to go. I was hoping the rest would give me time to think. Instead I didn’t think at all. On the one hand it’s relaxing. On the other, it’s stressful when you remember what you didn’t do.

It’s funny how songs suddenly have deeper meaning when you’re going through an internal turmoil. (This is especially obvious when love is involved.) Right now two songs from the musical Wicked are on heavy rotation in my mental iPod. Both are fighting for the top spot in my internal charts.

One song is about taking a leap, being courageous and taking risks. Elpheba (soon-to-be Wicked Witch of the West) and her best friend Glinda (soon-to-be the Good Witch) have decided to part ways, each one taking a different path. Here Elphaba says goodbye to her friend as she embraces her powers of flight:

“Defying Gravity”

Something has changed within me,
Something is not the same.
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game.
Too late for second-guessing,
Too late to go back to sleep,
It’s time to trust my instincts,
Close my eyes: and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity!
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity!
And you can’t pull me down!

I’m through accepting limits
‘Cuz someone says they’re so.
Some things I cannot change—
But ‘til I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost.
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity!
Kiss me goodbye—
I’m defying gravity!
And you can’t pull me down!

On the other hand, another song in the same musical also captured my attention. Early in the musical, Fiyero, a young, handsome and carefree Ozian who catches the attention of fellow student Glinda, describes his philosophy in life:

“Dancing Through Life”

The trouble with school is
They always try to teach the wrong lesson.
Believe me, I’ve been kicked out
Of enough of them to know.
They want you to become less callow,
Less shallow.
But I say: why invite stress in?
Stop studying strife
And learn to live “the unexamined life.”

Dancing through life,
Skimming the surface,
Gliding where turf is smooth.
Life’s more painless
For the brainless—
Why think too hard?
When it’s so soothing
Dancing through life;
No need to tough it
When you can sluff it off as I do.
Nothing matters
But knowing nothing matters;
It's just life,
So keep dancing through!

Dancing through life,
Swaying and sweeping,
And always keeping cool.
Life is fraught-less
When you’re thoughtless.
Those who don’t try
Never look foolish.
Dancing through life,
Mindless and careless,
Make sure you’re where less
Trouble is rife.
Woes are fleeting,
Blows are glancing,
When you’re dancing
Through life!

It’s actually a very seductive song for me, and that makes it even more wicked. Oh to just not think and worry and fret!

Meanwhile I’ve been playing the songs from the musical nonstop these past few days, even during the three-day live-in seminar in Antipolo which ended yesterday. Frankly I still don’t know what I’m going to do. Heck, I’m not even sure what I want to do. Times like these I just look to another song, “(Everybody’s Free to Wear) Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrman:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Now that I’m reaching the big four-oh, those words are a great comfort. Of course, Baz is a successful and respected director of screen and stage, so he should talk! Hmmm, now I feel bad again.

"Life's more painless/for the brainless."

Oooo, that would make a delish email signature.

i agree! wicked is awesome! RENT IS TOO! I think RENT is better in a way.. i mean two completly different musical.
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