Discovering the Wizard | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Discovering the Wizard | Mark’s Remarks

By on August 19, 2014 at 10:50 am

wizard-of-ozMy 3-year old and I went to see “The Wizard of Oz” stage play on Saturday night. Since her mother and I are well aware of the whole flying monkey fear that most kids experience, she has never been exposed to the Land of Oz.

Once the show started, she was completely enthralled. Soon, she decided to stand up in her chair, a possibility I had expected. I sat in a strategic spot on the side of the audience, just in case.

The questions and commentary started almost immediately. “Are all three witches sisters? Is that witch under the house asleep? That mean witch is wearing a mask. Look at her beautiful dress.”

I finally convinced her that it wasn’t appropriate to talk loudly during a play, so she placed her little hand on my shoulder. Each time she wanted to ask or tell me something, she would hook her hand around my head, grab hold of my cheek, and pull me toward her. Then, in a loud, almost ear-splitting whisper, she would ask or tell. It was something I was amused by and happy about. After all, this age of innocence and discovery won’t last long. Savor it. Who cares if my hearing is shot?

The tornado was well done during the show, and my daughter was back to exclaiming aloud. “A cow!? Look Dad, that lady is in a rocking chair in the storm. That mean lady turned into a witch! Her bicycle turned into a broom!” She was in awe of the special effects.

She paid close attention to the antics of Professor Marvel as he read his crystal ball. After he tricked Dorothy into believing he already knew her aunt’s name, he clarified by saying that Auntie Em was really named Emily. What followed was a bit of confusion on my daughter’s part and I spent a good many minutes convincing her that the girl in the blue dress was named Dorothy. Stubbornly, she persisted. “No Dad, that tall man said her name was Emily.” Finally, after several characters continued calling Dorothy by that name, all was well.

Thankfully, my youngest was unfazed by the flying monkeys; although they weren’t quite as frightening as they are in the movie (sheesh… they still scare me). I also thought the soldiers would cause her to lean a little closer to me. Again, no fear.

When the curtain call happened at the end of the show, my daughter smiled with delight as everyone took their bows and sang. She clapped loudly and with exuberance. She had discovered “Oz.”

We walked around and congratulated the hard-working cast. She was very happy to meet everyone and see that they were real people. She stared at the Wicked Witch when someone handed her flowers. “Look Dad. She’s happy now.”

Because I was part of the Repertory Festival that took place in Columbia for the past two weeks, I was invited to the cast party last night. Naturally, none of my older kids wanted to go. My wife was catching up on some work related projects. However, I knew one person who would be very excited to go.

“I need to go to the store and get a treat to take to the party. Would you like to pick it out?” She settled on a big box of cookies, and proceeded to hand them out to the “celebrities” at the party. She was especially happy to give one to the Wicked Witch. “She was happy to have the cookie, Dad.” Soon, the box was empty.

When we met up with Dorothy herself at the end of the evening, I made sure my daughter said hello.

Looking up at Dorothy with a bit of a sad look on her face, she held up her hands and said, “Hi. We ran out of cookies.”

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.