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Further Stage Adventures in Oz, Part Twenty-eight: An Examiner in Oz, Part Eight

An image from an early rehearsal; note that not all costumes are complete.
An image from an early rehearsal; note that not all costumes are complete.
From the Examiner's own collection

With Kathie allowing us pretty much free reign to do our own thing with the characters, and having thus created a very relaxed atmosphere among the cast and crew, things ran remarkably smoothly.

Some might consider such an approach a bit lax, but only because they haven't met Kathie. She was definitely in control of things, but allowed for a lot of creativity from the cast, most of whom lent some great ideas to the show in terms of costume and prop suggestions.

She was even nice enough to allow us to make the odd contribution to the action. Denny Vaupel conducted the orchestra and played the keyboard, with which he provided many sound effects to the show. For instance, when Dorothy knocks on the Tin Woodman’s chest, the rolling echo came from Denny. I had an inspiration once, and for a scene in which the Lion is supposed to lean against the Woodman’s chest crying, I asked Denny to hit that effect, then played hurting my head on the tin.

Not that the production was entirely trouble-free. When I communicated with Ted and told him I would be writing this article, he asked me, “Do you happen to remember my wardrobe malfunction?”

I do, in fact, but I will not specify, except to say that he had a slight mishap with his trousers during a performance. They had been a pair of jeans spray painted silver. Following the incident, a new pair was made of the same fabric as the shirt he wore.

Raina recalls another wardrobe-related occurrence which can very literally be called a slip-up involving her appropriately-named footwear.

“One thing I remember were those ruby slippers; they were incredibly slippery, which made dancing very difficult. During a rehearsal, I went running across the stage, slipped, and ended up falling right on our loveable lion's face! Ouch!”

It’s true, folks! Neither of us was badly hurt, I hasten to add.

Props can also prove a difficulty, especially when they don’t fly properly. Gary recalls “the time one of the apple trees hit me in the eye with a fake apple and gave me a good shiner—I teased her about that for years.”

One of the funniest mishaps took place when we were rehearsing the Lion’s first scene. There were wooden flats done up to look like bushes and trees, and I was crouching behind one of the bushes until my cue came to come roaring out to frighten the travelers. Flailing about like any good Scarecrow should, Gary fell over, his foot striking the bush and causing it to fall over THUD as well. In the pause which followed, I looked at the bush, looked back at Gary and growled, "Homewrecker!"

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