“Are people born Wicked? Or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them?” is the question that comes at the opening of the musical Wicked which we saw last week. The author of the musical suggests the latter I think. Elphaba – the green witch (who becomes the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz according to this musical), is misunderstood, the object of prejudice based just on her appearance – she is green! Many of us will have struggled with people who make value judgements about us with just one look or a very short encounter, it may be appearance, it may be our clothes, the place we are, the team we support or one of a myriad of things. We have probably also all done this too – made snap judgements on a flimsy premise which when we get to know people better often turns out not to be true. Elphaba ended up being tricked into things, labelled, scapegoated and regarded with hostility and suspicion – a look around the world shows that this is another story which contains truth for today.
Elphie was my favourite character – and she found someone who saw beyond the difference and loved her uniqueness – Fiyero, who preferred her to the good (traditionally pretty) witch Glinda. On a bad day I sometimes see myself as green – shorthand for odd or different or not like others – but I remember that there are those that love me even when I feel green and that helps me to have hope and I am grateful that my faith means that I don’t see myself as wicked and encourages me to reject wickedness if I might be tempted in that direction!