The Fox at Dawn

Land of Oz: the beginning
April 10, 2021. The Redbuds are in their glory. This was drawn with their blooms, charcoal from the fireplace, red dirt from Georgia, wood poppies, violets and their leaves. Spring is undeniably here, and so is the Spring Musical.
The Land of Oz: a new project.

Because I am attracted to the impossible
And self-preservation is not my strong suit,
I am going to Oz,
And I’m taking 104 children with me.

This is not figurative language. Every year I direct the all-school musical at my K-12 school of 300 students. Anyone who wants to be in the play, is in the play. Usually I have between 80-85 kids performing in it, ages 6-18. It’s an insane thing to do in a normal year, but we do it anyway.  No one thought I would do a production this pandemic year, I was getting a bye if I wanted one. But back in the fall I started seeing it. Maybe we could do it outside in the late spring, keep the kids in their pods, limit the audience, make it a moveable feast. What if we did Wizard of Oz and we built the Land of Oz in the school’s huge backyard? What if the audience followed Dorothy and friends along the Yellow Brick Road? All the what ifs have become one big yes. 104 kids signed up, over one third of the whole school. After a locked down year, we are all starved for adventure and community. Hungry for theater that takes place outside of our minds. So now I am fully sucked into its cyclone. Only, I am also wondering, what if I write about it this time as it is happening? What if I let it take whatever form it likes? 

April 6th 2021
First day in Munchkinland

The sun shines down on the Munchkins
Spread around me
Grouped in their pods
On the basketball court,
Giddy wiggling
Their first rehearsal.

These opening days,
All is conjecture,
Castles in the air.

This is where Kansas will be
And here is where you live. 
There will be a huge nest on the top of the hill
And little houses- yes- you can go in them.
And Glinda will arrive driving a Frozen jeep
With a bubble machine.
And here, I say, waving my wand like
The Good Witch of the Aspirational,
Is where Dorothy’s house will be built.
         A real house?
Yes, and when the tornado comes-
         If this was a movie, it would be CGI.
Yes, but we’re lucky. This is theater. So it’ll be real.
Somehow the witch will appear here, 
and somehow (what a handy word)
we will magically get those ruby slippers on Dorothy’s feet.

It looks to the Munchkins
That I am directing
But really, I am thinking out loud
I am conjuring
Because any witch knows
You have to say the words 
If you want it to be true.
‘Somehow’ I say, ‘we will get
Those ruby slippers on Dorothy’s feet’
And in less than a minute
We have worked it out
It is entered in the stage manager’s bible
And now it is so.
I feel more powerful than I have felt in a long time.

Until you are inside theater making, 
you can’t really see that it’s an infinite puzzle, 
one you have created yourself 
simply by saying ‘Let’s put on a play’.
It is, I imagine, a lot like going to war
Only everyone lives to tell their own tale.
Everyone goes home victorious.

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in a quiet moment inside the Drama Cabin.

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Yay! so excited for this adventure!

Comment by gothamguru

Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain all month!

Comment by Loren Crawford

What a wonderful idea. I wish I could see it in all its glory and marvelousness! I am picturing it in my imagination and I will return to those images in my head whenever I am troubled or downhearted. Thank you for that, Loren!

Comment by Leslie Clark

Oh Loren, this is so wonderful! Your production is going to be amazing, I can already tell. Wish I could see it. xoxo


Thank you Jillian- whatever it turns out to be, it will be FUN, and we can all use some fun.

Comment by Loren Crawford

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