The Fox at Dawn


Land of Oz: two

Rehearsals continue for the biggest show I’ve ever directed in the shortest amount of time I’ve ever attempted. 104 young actors, k-12 in a great big outdoor play that moves from place to place. These are some snapshots. My first pass at trying to get at what compels me so about making theater with the young.

April 7th

Today was music day

At the piano like old times
In Tucker Hall
Our post war cafetorium
dark all this last year. 
People have trouble remembering
How to turn on the lights.

	A sudden wind blows
	In the smell of rain
	Coming soon.
	The trees dance.

It felt so good to us to be back again
Where we’ve all rehearsed so many things

        Rehearse
        Go over 
        again and again
        Conjure the story
        Up out of the page.

Dorothy sings like an angel,
Everyone in school knows this.
No one could imagine a different Dorothy.

Tin Man’s voice has dropped so low
It needs a rescue party
To haul it to the note.

The Lion is afraid to sing.
Bold and hilarious in our small class,
Today she is hiding behind her mask.

The Scarecrow is in quarantine.
He visited a college over break
And now must bide his time.

One step at a time we go,
Trusting the path.

	Raining now
	Lightning and thunder
        Spring’s first.
        Resurrection rushes in.



I did an inventory of what I had stashed behind the stage from the last couple of productions, mostly pieces of the rigid foam insulation which is the best thing that has ever happened to school theater design. I congratulate myself that I found room to save all those large scrap pieces from when I cut out the giant cattails last year and the London skyline the year before that. These will do nicely for the Emerald City, painted green and made sparkly. The playground transformed. And I’ve got plenty of stone wall flats for the witch’s castle, I won’t have to buy any new sheets of insulation. Which is good because I’ve blown the budget on that revolving house.

April 8th

Emerald City.
Middle Schoolers.
So much to prove.
Bravado and bluster,
Bruising like peaches.

Playing on the playground
Explaining how the play
Moves from place to place
The audience must follow.
There are different ways to tell a story.

(God I hate directing through the mask. The wind the traffic the lawn mowers- my voice can’t cut through to their ears. I hate that I can’t see their whole faces. I hate that they can’t see mine.)

Movement is set
Direction is given
Music 
We play the scene
Seems simple, it’s not.
Seems easy, I’m glad.
It’s not.

The sky to the West is suddenly dark
The Witch seems to be making an entrance.
A few droplets and we make the call 
To evacuate Emerald City. 
We pack it up, 
Make sure everyone 
Has everything,
enter the Lower School doors 
and trek to the gym
From kindergarten to high school,
An entire childhood traversed in minutes.

The sky bursts 
Thunders down on the roof.
We giggle, we made it
Just in time.




Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



%d bloggers like this: