Friday, January 10, 2014

Wicked in Mexico City

I've got a bit of a backlog of drafts that slipped through the cracks over the last few months. Sticking with my "better late than never" motto, let's try to catch up a bit....

Back on Halloween (I know, I know, more than a few holidays have come and gone since then) Edson and I went to see the musical Wicked here in Mexico City. I had posted before I went (here, including some photos and clips from the show), but hadn't yet shared my thoughts.

Since it was Halloween, Edson and I decided to dress up as Elphaba and the Scarecrow.

Edson found (a light-haired!) witch and scarecrow pins, so we each wore the other's character. They were perfect!
Edson's witch pin
my scarecrow pin
The show was at the new Telcel Theater in Polanco. Unfortunately, traffic was horrendous and "leaving in plenty of time" turned into walking in at the end of the first song :(

Below are photos of the program. I'd never seen another program quite like it -it was huge and really nice. I said, only half-joking, that maybe that's why tickets were so expensive!

Wicked program
Wicked program
list of songs
We saw Danna Paola as Elphaba (she and Ana Cecilia Anzaldúa alternate).

Danna Paola as Elphaba
From Wicked México's Facebook page here  
Danna Paola is only 18, making her the youngest actress to play the role of Elphaba. There was a lot of doubt when she was cast since she got her start as a child star in telenovelas (soap operas) and doesn't have much (any?) previous theater experience. I thought she did a good job with the role though. She's small (Internet says she's 5'3'', so taller than me - hah!), especially compared to Cecilia de la Cueva who plays Glinda. 

Cecilia de la Cueva (left) and Danna Paola (right) in rehearsal
From Wicked Mexico's Facebook page here
I thought Danna Paola's small size and young age brought more vulnerability to her character, which I really liked and thought worked really well. Cecilia de la Cueva was super bubbly, the way Glinda should be, though I never got quite used to watching a tall and lanky Glinda. 

While I enjoyed them for most part, I feel like they got tired by the end of the show. It's a difficult show to sing, but I was disappointed when they got to "Por ti" ("For Good"), one of my favorite songs in the show, and their voices weren't quite as strong. 

at the show, during intermission

This was the first time the show has been translated to Spanish. It was a little harder for me to understand all of the lyrics, though I'm not sure if it was because I'm not as used to listening to/ picking out the words to songs in Spanish as in English, the enunciation of the actors, the acoustics of the theater, that I was simultaneously singing the English version in my head, or a combination of all of the above.

I was a little worried about how the show would translate, but overall I thought it was well done. There were some moments that translated ok, but knowing the original in English, they sounded a little strange. For example, the line "I hope you're happy, I hope you're happy now" in "Defying Gravity" became "Qué tengas suerte, y que te vaya bien" (roughly "Good luck and I hope it goes well for you")  in "En contra de la gravedad."

I felt that a few translations were slightly off. For example, I didn't think "Sal a bailar" ("go out dancing") captured the whole idea of "Dancing through life."

However, there were a couple moments that, while the translation was different, it was absolutely perfect for the language and audience! For example, when Glinda introduces herself she says she is from "Las Lomas" -- which literally means "the hills," but is also a ritzy, expensive neighborhood in Mexico City. (Wikipedia says "Home to some of the biggest mansions and wealthiest people in Mexico, it is located in northwestern Mexico City.") 

I think my favorite example was in the introduction of "Qué es lo que siento" ("Loathing"). In the English version, Elphaba says her new roommate Glinda is "blonde." I didn't know how they'd translate it in Spanish since the words for blonde (rubia) or light-haired (güera) don't carry the same connotation. They used "fresa", which although it literally means "strawberry," is used in Mexico to describe someone who is rich and stuck-up and is definitely used as an insult by people who do not consider themselves "fresa." 

Overall I really enjoyed the show! Wicked continues to be one of my favorites!

I'll leave you with a video of "No hay bien" ("No Good Deed"), sung by Danna Paola:

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