What makes a love triangle complex and strong in a musical?
I have talked about this topic more times than I should on my blog: love triangle. There is one in particular I love more than the others. It has evolved a lot over the years. My favorite love triangle of musical theatre is found in Wicked. It is found between Elphaba-Fiyero-Glinda. Why is that.
1) It is the first one I emotionally bonded with. This sounds like a crazy reason. It is so true. I first discovered the concept of love triangles in Wicked. I don’t remember if I first was aware of the love triangle during the 1st time I saw Wicked or the 2nd time I saw Wicked. I do know it was connected to one of the two. I don’t know if “I’m Not That Girl” started as emotionless or if it began as just a sad song- did I realize it was a sad song my 1st time or the 2nd- once again know it was connected to those two times.
2) Complexity- It is more complex than the Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera love triangle. In Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera- Marius and Cosette and Raoul and Christine are a couple while Phantom and Eponine are struggling with the heartbreak and pain of unrequited love- it stays that way.
What makes Wicked’s love triangle more complex? It begins like this: Fiyero and Glinda are a couple while Elphaba is dealing with the pain and heartbreak of unrequited love- you think that setup is endgame- you think that Elphaba will have unrequited love for the entire musical. Fast forward to the top of act II- Fiyero realizes something- he is in love with Elphaba- he decides to break up with Glinda leaving her dealing with the pain and heartbreak of unrequited love. So now, Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple and Glinda is dealing with the pain of unrequited love. So you have two girls getting hurt in one love triangle- it is not straight forward due to that. How do the two girls respond to the unrequited love? They decide not to steal Fiyero away- that to me shows their loyalty towards each other- they want to keep friendship alive. Why does this plot twist happen? Based upon the last time I saw Fiyero, I believe Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba without knowing, and did not realize it until act II- my actor, Ashley Parker Angel, went ahead and in act I decided to have stronger chemistry with Elphaba and weaker chemistry with Glinda in act I foreshadowing the plot twist. Wicked’s love triangle is much more complex than the Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis group- all because of Fiyero’s role- he was the one who was responsible for the plot twist. Before my 4th time- I always left the theatre with “why”- I never grasped why the plot twist happened.
3) Elphaba- The fact that Elphaba is part of this love triangle is a HUGE reason why Wicked is home to my favorite love triangle. Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical theatre character. I see a lot of myself in her, and there are parts of her I don’t see myself in. So there is a bonus. That might be taking things almost a bit far, but that is true.
4) Elphaba X Fiyero x Glinda- This is connected to #3. I made it known that in Wicked I am emotionally connected to only three characters. They happen to be Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero: I only am fully focused on the friendship and the love triangle each time I see Wicked. Characters play a huge part in my love of a romantic sub-plot. The entire storyline is on Elphaba and Glinda- their friendship. All three characters are complex- yes, you might think only Elphaba and Glinda are complex. But there is more to Fiyero than you think. The complexity of this love triangle is not just because the unrequited love shifts- it is also because all three characters are complex. In high school, I remember knowing that the love triangle was fascinating and adding an incredible texture to Wicked, but I did not understand why.
The 4th time I saw Wicked- the love triangle went through some drastic changes- after my 3rd time- before my 4th time- I came to a realization- “I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song- figured that out due to “On My Own” and memorizing the lyrics. Due to paying even closer attention to Fiyero, I was able to have a clearer idea why the plot twist happened. Due to knowing “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking coming in, I had to look at that song fresh as if I never heard that song before- I knew I wanted to think more about what I was feeling- I had to pay even closer attention to the Lion Cub Scene- 1) to look for clues pointing to the plot twist and 2) to understand how heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” is.
The next character I will explain why I love the Beast.
In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast in my opinion is so complex. For starters he is under a curse an enchantress put on him because the enchantress saw no love in his heart. The Beast after all is a prince. The enchantress says the curse will not be broken until he learns to love and if someone learns to love in return. But he only has until the last petal falls on an enchanted rose. As years went by, he slowly fell more and more into despair. The curse affects the people who work there as well and they become enchanted objects. That is just some backstory about the Beast.
The Beast originally imprisons Belle’s father. But Belle ended up taking her father’s place. The Beast obviously at the beginning has this anger problem. He eventually does open up to Belle. After he loses his temper after finding Belle in the West Wing, Belle escapes. But the Beast realizing what he has done rescues Belle from being eaten by Wolves. That is a big step for him because he ends up saving Belle so he starts to learn how to love and becomes less selfish, but he still has anger problem, but he slowly is learning to love.
A lot of my love for him comes from how he develops through the course of the story. The Beast learns how selfish he was and starts to learn his lesson because of Belle’s presence in the castle. Soon after the wolf attack, you start to see Beast finally learn to love. Belle teaches him that beauty comes from within. His feelings for Belle start to be noticed during “Something There” so we learn that he slowly has love for his heart and that the curse does have capacity to be broken. During “Beauty and the Beast”, it is discovered that the two love each other. Right after this scene, through this mirror she allows Belle to see her father. Belle is terrified by what the towns people are doing to her father so the Beast lets her go and that shows he has learned that love does come with sacrifice at times. This is where “Evermore” happens in the new 2017 movie.
So Belle finally has learned to love, but he doesn’t know if Belle has learned to love him as well. The audience obviously knows the two are in love, but Beast doesn’t know it. Belle does eventually come back after she learns they are getting ready to hunt the Beast and it is in that moment just how much she loves him. Beast seeing that Belle has returned starts attacking Gaston in order to make sure Belle is safe. Beast almost dies in the story but he doesn’t. In the end the spell has finally been broken and he no longer is a Beast and the enchanted objects are now human again. So really a lot of my love for the Beast has to do with his transformation from a selfish and angry man to a man filled with love in his heart and what it means to love. Love means sacrifice and it shows that through him finally letting Belle go and eventually protecting her.
Musicals can either be complex or simple. But I tend to lean towards the complex ones. But why is it important for complexity to be a part of a musical. Complexity is how you get conflict. It is where there is more to be discovered as time goes on. There tends to be sub-plots during the story as well. Complexity has this type of texture involved. Since complexity is where conflict tends to show up the best, it is also how you get the negative emotions. Complex musicals are fun to discover new things in. The sub-plots make you see so much more. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a musical is complex, but the sub-plots are one way to notice. If there are multiple sub-plots, the show is for sure complex. Complexity also comes from characters because there is a lot to them.
Why do you Want Complexity in a Musical?
Major and Minor Spoilers:
Today, I will talk about the love triangle in Wicked in a way that I have not done before. It is quite a complex love triangle. It starts out with Fiyero and Glinda as a couple, which has Elphaba end up with unrequited love for Fiyero. But eventually Fiyero breaks up with Glinda and ends up in a relationship with Elphaba, which makes Glinda end up with unrequited love for Fiyero. So I thought I would talk about the two couples. To be honest, I barely know Fiyero and Glinda as a couple.
I do not like Fiyero and Glinda as a couple that much. Fiyero arrives to Shiz and he is this rather cool guy who doesn’t care much about anything. Glinda wants to go out with him, so she ends up setting Boq up to take Nessa to the dance. So Glinda and Fiyero go out to the dance together so in this moment, they become a couple. Their chemistry is not that strong throughout act I. When act II comes along, Fiyero gets really mad at Glinda. That is because she is listening to the people spread rumors about Elphaba and Fiyero is like, why are you supporting them, isn’t that bothering you. Obviously what she is hearing is upsetting her. This is when their relationship fails. I honestly don’t know this couple that well.
The couple I know the best belongs to Elphaba and Fiyero. Even though they are not a couple in act I, their first intimate moment is the lion cub scene. Even in that scene, they have better chemistry than Fiyero and Glinda. In that scene, clues point to the fact that Fiyero does have a crush on Elphaba, but he doesn’t seem that aware of it. It is in this scene when Elphaba realizes that she is falling in love with him. This scene is truly where the love triangle begins.
It took hearing rumors spread about Elphaba to realize that he loves her. Their song, “As Long As Your’e Mine” shows that they are mature. They are courageous when it comes to each other. One moment is when Fiyero demands that they let her go and Elphaba tries spell after spell to try to save him, but she ended up turning him to the scarecrow.
This love triangle is the most complex one I have ever come across. It is a love triangle where two couples exist and where both girls get hurt. In act I, it is Elphaba who is dealing with unrequited love and it is act II where it is Glinda who is dealing with unrequited love. But the plot twist makes it a very unique love triangle.
What do you think about these couples? Which one do you prefer? Do you love this love triangle and why?