12 January 2018

OZ

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true...

To tell you the truth, if I had been left to my own devices, I probably wouldn't have bothered going to see "The Wizard of Oz" at The Crucible Theatre last night. However, I had my ticket bought for me by some friends from the local pub. We also shared a taxi there and back and ordered interval drinks. This was all paid for through last year's pub quiz winnings.

The show was as enthralling as it was stunning. Everything knitted together so well - from the live music to the stagecraft to the vibrant dancing of the chorus. It was a bouillabaisse of frolicking fantasy with excellent performances from all of the lead players as they took us on a journey to L.Frank Baum's famous 1900 wonderland that would later became the iconic 1939 musical film that starred Judy Garland as Dorothy.

Regarding the current Crucible production I agree with Clare Brennan who said in her "Guardian" review - "The heart of the show is Gabrielle Brooks as Dorothy, expressing the perfect combination of innocence and wonder to carry us off into the shared dream of Oz". 

There's something vaguely perplexing about "The Wizard of Oz" story. I couldn't help wondering what it all really meant. Who do these figures represent? It all feels so allegorical and indeed many commentators have proposed various theories about what L.Frank Baum was really up to when he wrote it.

It certainly contains autobiographical, spiritual and political elements though Baum himself may not have been fully conscious of these forces as the tale emerged from his typewriter. He once said that the story was simply a burst of inspiration that came out of nowhere, inspired by looking at the second drawer of his filing cabinet which read “O–Z.”

Bravo to everybody involved in the Crucible production. Superb... and haunting too!

25 comments:

  1. Mr. Pudding on the yellow brick road, the yellow brick road (repeat ad nauseam)

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    1. Err... "ad nauseam"! Did I say it properly Mr C?

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    2. Perfecto, Mr. P.

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  2. We "always" win at the pub quiz, but our prizes are bottles of booze...

    I read the book when I was little, and for years afterwards was scared our house would be blown away in a storm every time there was even just a gentle breeze outside.

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    1. Perhaps it was blown away and you are now actually residing in Oz!

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  3. It is so wonderful to hear that your theater is so good ..... and, with live music. That does not happen much anymore. Our little theater in Evergreen hosts the Children's Chorale, the Evergreen Players and the Evergreen Chorale. The old building will seat 180 only but every performance and musical is accompanied by a live orchestra! 5-10 instruments usually. You can imagine the hardship for actors, singers and musicians to make it "up the slope" from Denver (I would say a third are from Evergreen, itself.) in all kinds of inclement weather to rehearsal three times a week and then three weekends of performances. I admire those people so much!

    Glad you had such a surprisingly good time!

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    1. The show must go on! Good to hear that a place like Evergreen has enough committed people to make theatre happen. By the way, was nearby Bear Mountain named after your own Big Bear?

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    2. Well, of course, brother! I am looking at it right now! The mountain, not the bear.

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    3. Oh! I guessed right then!

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  4. I never feel like going to musicals but I'm always glad I've gone. That mystifies me a little. Sounds like this performance was worth seeing.

    I was in a production of Oz when I was a teen. There were a surprisingly large number of short people, including adults, who made up our community theatre. We were all Munchkins, of course :)

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    1. Wow! You were a Munchkin! That is so cool! If I could choose a part in "The Wizard of Oz" I would be the heartless Tin Man.

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    2. I can't tell if you are mocking me or not! On a related note, why would you want to be the heartless Tin Man? (at least I think they're related)

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    3. No Jenny. I would never mock you. I was just being silly.

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    4. Well, if you WERE mocking me, my comeback was going to be that not only was I a Munchkin but a special Munchkin - the Coroner Munchkin who pronounced the Wicked Witch dead when Dorothy's house landed on her! (that part may have been written in by our particular director but by god I had it)

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    5. The Coroner Munchkin! Holy Mother of God! You were the most important Munchkin of them all. Please post a picture of you in your Munchkin costume over at Procrastinating Monkey... if indeed photography existed in those days.

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    6. lol There is no photographic evidence but my mother would swear on a road map that I was there, because she was there, too :)

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  5. Why delve deeper searching for something that,after all, in the words of the author,isn't there?

    Accept it as it is...pure, innocent, wonderful, childish fun for children of all ages.

    To freely enjoy to one's heart content a child's dream as it's meant to be enjoyed...uninterrupted by the harshness of Life's realities.

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    1. Perhaps you are right Lee. At one level there is a light-hearted simplicity about "The Wizard of Oz" but I cannot simply banish my suspicion that there is more to it than at first meets the eye.

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  6. The quality of Sheffield theatres always impressed me.... everything I saw was on a par with anything the west end had to offer.... and I should know I went to see everything..with Sheffield star reporter John Highfield

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    1. I wonder what happened to him. Is he still with "The Star"? I don't read it often these days but I remember his entertainment reviews.

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  7. Sometimes it's good to get out of our comfort zone and go to something don't want to attend. I'm glad you liked the show.

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    1. Are you going to see "Mending Fences" at the Central Alberta Theatre? It runs from March 2nd to April 7th. Go on! Treat Mistress Micro-Manager!

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    2. I volunteered for front of the house for this theater for ten years.It's a college theater and 75% of performances are done through college courses. Not the best so I'll pass on Mending Fences.

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  8. I would not be able to miss anything that I was given a ticket to that had to do with the Wizard of Oz (my fav movie)! I was sent over here to visit from Crafty Cats Corner. Glad you enjoyed the event.

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    1. Well. Thanks for calling by Pam. I saw the 1939 film version on an aeroplane a few years ago but the Sheffield production on The Crucible stage was something else - quite brilliant.

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