By: Bridget Beaupré
The Wizard of Oz is known as an American classic in all of its various forms; movies, books, and plays. People from across the nation can relate to the simple plot line, distinctive characters, and the catchy music. The play The Wizard of Oz has an extraordinarily large portion of my heart devoted to it seeing as I’ve been in the play twice and gone to countless viewings around Georgia. During my summer, I decided to go see The Wizard of Oz directed by a man who I’ve known for many years of my life. The show was preformed in Jefferson, Georgia and drew people from all over to watch the show. The show had some unique elements and was a spectacular performance!
The directors did a marvelous job casting the play. Many more people than expected tried out for the show which lead to the making of two casts; Ruby and Emerald. The first time I went to see the play I saw the Ruby cast and they were amazing. After talking to the director, he told me that the Emerald cast was just as good, if not better and in three days, I was back to watch the Emerald cast perform. There were numerous elements that made the play as good as it was. The actors seemed to really consider every little detail, and it paid off.
One element that was preformed exceptionally well was the interaction between the actors and their audience. Every time I saw the performance, the actors kept the audience engaged and entertained. The actors really enjoyed the interaction with the audience. The Wicked Witch from the Emerald cast said she even loved it when the crowd “Boo-ed” her! From past experiences, I know the rush an actor gets when the audience is laughing at the delivery of a line, or when the audience actually feels bad for a struggling character. All in all, both casts did an amazing job incorporating the audience into the energy of the play.
Another element that was considered was the set design. Often times directors look for a set that is both easy and functional but it is hard to incorporate both equally. The set design for this play was the perfect balance of simplicity, functionality and creativity. The overall look of the set was spectacular. I could definitely tell that a lot of hard work was put into the set design. One aspect of the set that was unbelievable was the head of the Wizard of Oz. I’ve seen this aspect of the play portrayed many different ways however I find this one most effective. The head was large and mysterious with the accompanied lighting and the voice that echoed out shaking the theater. The head in this play was most certainly more effective than the head in any of the other plays I’ve been in or watched.
Not only do I love plays but I also love musicals. The music in the Wizard of Oz is some of my favorite music in any musical I’ve ever seen. The Ruby cast and the Emerald cast had two totally different musicians playing their music. The Ruby cast’s pianist was one I’d been used to working with when I was acting. I’ve always loved her unique style and it was the music I’ve always been used to. The Emerald cast had something a little different, an organ player. The man that played the organ programmed the organ himself and he did a remarkable job adding a fresh new spin on the music. As amazing as the organ player was, I still prefer the piano player over the organ player.
One important aspect that actors have to take into consideration when performing is their character. Any confident person can hop up on stage and spew off some memorized lines but a true actor defines and develops his or her character. These actors identified their characters very well. The Scarecrow continued to have a hard time walking throughout the play. The Lion nervously played with its tail. The Wicked Witch always cackled before exiting the stage in a puff of white smoke. Each one of these characteristics formed the actors into believable characters. All of the performers did an amazing job of embellishing their character as the play went on.
Another important aspect that was carefully considered were the costumes. Costumes add to the magical power of the play. I would have to say that the costumes in this play were well thought out. The only costumes that I wasn’t too fond of were the Munchkin’s. I felt like they were too modern and not very well thought out. People often have this perception that Munchkin’s clothes are just bright colored and randomly thrown together however this is not so. I would have liked to have seen their costumes a little more put together.
The actors also did an incredible job interacting with their fellow cast mates. It was evident that the entire cast got along and had a special bond. If an actor dropped or forgot a line, a fellow cast mate was ready to help fill in and the show went on. They all practiced well and all of their hard work paid off, all of this left them with a wonderful show!
This play, The Wizard of Oz, expressed something valuable that is beyond language. The whole premise of The Wizard of Oz is for everyone to realize that there is no place like home. Many people get the structure of a house and the home mixed up. A home is emotional wise where the house basically is material wise. Dorothy always felt at home in Oz because of the people she surrounded herself with but she never realized that she knew the people she was with, that is why she wanted to go home. This is important to me because it is my last year before I move out of the house and I go to college. I am going to be moving away from my house but I’m not leaving my home because that would mean that I’ve lost my family and I haven’t.
This particular play was definitely well constructed. The number of elements that were incorporated certainly added to the effectiveness of the piece. The set design and costumes added to the visual aspect while the music appealed to the sense of hearing. And by taking into account their character, their audience and their fellow cast members, the actors constructed the building blocks for an amazing show.