It’s my birthday month and my 40th year, these milestone birthdays really do make me reflect on my experiences, what I’ve learned and what my plans are for the future.
The celebrations kicked off early with a visit to London, with my husband and friends. London is my favourite city, it’s vibrancy, it’s opportunity and diversity fill me with excitement and motivation for now, and for the future.
For those of you who know me personally you will know that I can’t possibly go to London without visiting the West End, and there was only one theatre I wanted to revisit for my special birthday – The Victoria Apollo. WICKED the Musical has been a huge love of mine since I first discovered it in 2008, everything about it seemed to resonate with me, and now with my work, I think I can see why.
‘Are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?’ Elphaba is ridiculed from the moment she is born, she lacks a connection with her father and loses her mother after the birth of her sister; she tries to care for her sister and do the right thing but is isolated for her differences. She is vulnerable, which makes her easy to manipulate into a situation that changes her life forever. Just like children who experience trauma or have attachment disorder. Longing for that connection meant that when Elphaba found someone she thought she could finally connect with, when she found a place, she felt she could belong, she did what was asked of her to please and keep what she had found.
Elphaba is the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’, evil through and through and nobody mourns the wicked do they? Although the reprise of ‘No One Mourns the Wicked’ in the final moments on stage means that the tone of the song changes, and we are left to ponder. Do we choose to see the behaviour or look at the why behind it? Do we see Elphaba as evil or someone who has tried her best, and been the victim of circumstance and manipulation? We can see how her transition occurs and how, despite her best efforts at doing good deeds, the fact that they never seem to go unpunished makes her vow to never do a good deed again.
How many wicked children are there out there? How many in your classrooms? How many in your surgeries? I plead with you to look at behaviour for what it is, find the why, focus on a positive connection. It only takes one good adult to make a difference – which adult do you want to be?
I love WICKED for the story, the humour and the music but most of all for the message. We all have a chance to make a difference, leave a hand-print on someone’s heart; how that hand-print makes them feel is up to you.
‘So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me
Like a hand-print on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend.’