I recently saw Wicked in Chicago. I admit that some time ago I read the novel upon which the musical is based, by Gregory Maguire (whose name often comesup when you google our beloved Cinderella Gergory). I am hoping the some time ago is actually a relatively long time ago, as I hardly recall the plot or the novel at all.
However, the musical did remind me of the novel, and together I was led to ask: was Elphaba a Shimerian? Ordinarily, I am not inclined to inquire whether characters in novels or musicals are or were Shimerians -- focusing my question more on authors (and on occasion recently an architect). But, I must, having seen the bits of the musical that focused upon education, pursue the question. Could he green witch, the so-called wicked witch, be a Shimerian?
I think the answer could be yes for the following reasons. First: she is an active learner and pursues her craft with a kind of dedication and native talent that seems, well, Shimerian. It is the combination of the passion (in her case on occasion anger) and the effort, not one or the other. And, there is most definitely "native talent." Perhaps more persuasively, she is a bit of an outsier as a consequence of her talents and smarts, and this leads to a somewhat complex social situation with her peers. (Ought I not say that? Hmmm.) And, of course, Elphaba is misunderstood. Her commitment to social justice (and full participatory education) are perhaps Shimerian as well.
No, I am not arguing that Shimerians are green. Though I have on occasion noted some green hair. Yes, I am saying the Shimerian ethos and Elphaba as portrayed by Maguire and the musical may have some similarities.
No, I am not arguing that we ought to sing more than we do (though I did recently participate in an intriguing conversation about karaoke). I can indeed imagine Shimer as a musical. Alas, it was a tad painful (except for the bit taking place at Orange Horse).
No, I am not arguing for inclusion of Wicked in the curriculum. But, I would say that some of the themes raised in it -- the complexities of good and evil, the nature of friendship, and the ways politics qua expressions of power can lead to a dehumanizing of the other -- well, those are indeed part of the enduring questions and texts we tangle with. Shiz University as Shimerian? Hmm. No ghost of Hutchins there, I think.
Elphaba? Shimerian? Wicked jest or not?