Here's the latest "Past Deadline," published in The Perth Courier on Wednesday, Nov. 12/08. You gotta love the theatah!
Witches and monkeys and wizards, oh my!
There are so many good reasons to go and see a Perth Community Choir show. For one, you’ll see lots of people you know dressed up in strange ways. It’s a chance to expose your children to the arts. You can see people you haven’t seen in weeks/months/years because a) they don’t live here anymore but come back for PCC shows or b) you just don’t get out much.
I’ve been trying to remember how long it has been since I’ve seen a PCC show. Was it Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2001? Could it really have been that long ago? Well this year it was finally possible for us to make it a family affair. No babies nap in our house anymore, so we made our way to the Sunday matinee to see The Wizard of Oz.
Now, before you gasp and shudder at the thought of us taking Boychild, 6, and Girlchild, 3, to “that scary show,” don’t forget that in my official capacity as Mother of the Year I have already frightened the bejeebers out of them with scary witches and flying monkeys. No, not me and Groom-boy!
A couple of months ago I purchased the DVD of the 1939 version featuring Judy Garland as Dorothy – you know, the one we used to watch fearfully once a year as children when it was on TV, covering our eyes and ears for the scary parts. I inflicted the movie on my kids. A certain boy in our household is fascinated by tornadoes, so he was quite intrigued during that potentially scary part. He laughed about the flying monkeys, too, and called them “ninja monkeys.” Later, though, as Dorothy sobbed through what might have been her final moments in the dark and spooky witch’s castle, I had to talk a couple of people off the ledge.
“I don’t want to watch anymore, Mom!” they beseeched. I laughed (because I’m Mother of the Year), and said, “But you HAVE to see this next part! Everything works out. Watch what Dorothy does to the witch. It’s soooo funny!”
It’s all in the marketing, you see. They waited and watched and then they laughed as [Caution: spoiler!] the witch melted away into a puddle of dry-ice goo. Phew! And then we watched the DVD over and over again – to the point I was almost thinking back fondly to the Teletubbies. Almost.
Needless to say, the short people in the house were quite excited to go to the play. Girlchild was warned in advance that this particular venue would not favour dancing in the aisles. She would have to remain seated. Not a problem. For two and a half hours they were entranced by a show that was both familiar and not, offering some enticing new snippets. In particular, the Jitterbug number was exciting. Anytime you combine tap shoes with singing and glow-in-the-dark jewellery you’ve got a showstopper.
My munchkins were also well prepped for the scary parts and had their hands over their ears in anticipation of scenes they knew would be loud. As the kids sat enraptured by all the activities onstage – including set changes – Groom-boy and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces dressed up as, well, familiar faces. Some folks lost accents and others gained them, some made mighty fine trees and others were projected onto screens in entertaining ways.
It was great! Well done, everyone!
What a treat to peek at Girlchild as she watched the show and see her face glowing with happiness – a huge grin and eyes wide with wonder. Boychild was able to take an intellectual approach in his review, comparing differences and similarities between the movie and the musical. It was good suppertime banter. We discussed our favourite characters, and we all have different ones. I was particularly impressed with Toto. What an awesome dog! You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn Girlchild loved Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, who looks remarkably like a pink princess, after all.
If you have a chance to see this classic show in its final week presented by our fantastic Perth Community Choir, I say run, don’t walk, down the yellow brick road to get there!