Written by Amber Mak, Director of The Wizard of Oz
Recently, one of the original pairs of ruby red slippers from the 1939 film was recovered after having been missing for the past 13 years. The information was a nationally celebrated news story because it was noted that those slippers are such an iconic representation of the “enduring symbol of the power of belief.”
When offered to direct a show, I immediately ask myself, “Why this story now, for this audience?” I have gone down the yellow brick road many times before, and, being from Kansas, it certainly has played a significant role in my life. L. Frank Baum created such a vibrant, symbolic world for us to journey through in our imaginations, allowing us to see the world of Oz through the powerful, innocent eyes of a child. Although he intended the story for children, he understood that, as adults, we often feel small and alone in our own personal journeys, especially in the face of adversity and crisis. For me, children seem to hold a bit of magic, and I believe this is because of their openness and vulnerability. They look up to adults to teach and help them. I am reminded of this daily with my toddling daughter, but as adults we lose that vulnerability in fear of appearing weak. We turn to technology for help more than we turn to each other, often leaving us feeling alone and isolated, and with those feelings, our familiar world often becomes distorted, alien, sometimes wonderful but often scary. – However, Dorothy doesn’t travel down the yellow brick road alone. We’re reminded of the necessity and power of friendship. With courage, compassion, thoughtfulness and unwavering belief, there isn’t an obstacle we can’t overcome together.
As you travel to Oz with us, I ask that you allow your brain to imagine beyond what your eyes see, your heart to be open to new possibilities, and that you may have the courage to be vulnerable in sharing the journey with each other.