‘Wizard of Oz’ characters make show worthwhile

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The Tin Man in Dixie State University’s “Wizard of Oz” Play adds another dimension to his character by embodying what it looks and sounds like to be made of tin.

Community member Jacob Parkinson, who stars as the Tin Man, brings a refreshing take to this character by incorporating robotic dance moves and altering his body language completely. Rather than walk like the rest of the characters on stage, he trudges behind as if his legs and arms were truly made of tin. No matter what physical activity he endured, Parkinson’s mechanical-like mannerisms stayed true to the Tin Man’s nature for the duration of the show. 

Aside from constantly relying on the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion to oil his joints, the characters shared a special chemistry together on stage. While the play used the “Wizard of Oz” film script, there were minute changes in the original dialogue that added to their witty banter as a trio. 

In one instance, the Scarecrow is ripped apart by the flying monkeys and when the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion find him in pieces, their first response is, “It is time to pull yourself together Scarecrow!”

Now if you find yourself cringing at punny jokes, this may not be the play for you because this comedic approach is sprinkled throughout the play and most notably during the tree’s presence on stage. 

The moment Dorothy tries pulling an apple off a branch, the trees break the silence in the air. When the Scarecrow fires back and disrespects the trees, they pummel Dorothy and him with as many apples as possible yelling, “How about them apples?”

When the trees eventually make their way off stage in stilts, one of the actors added, “Now make like a tree and leaf.”

While the dialogue brought a more humorous touch to the show, the steampunk inspired costume and set design invoked a scarier feel to the story. St. George resident Joyce Champion said developing a more serious storyline using the steampunk elements was refreshing yet terrifying. 

“The steampunk added a spooky mood to the overall play,” Champion said.

Rather than seeing a stereotypical witch with green skin and a pointy black hat, she appears as if she’s engulfed in fiery red and black flames. The same can also be said for the munchkins in the show. While we all know them as these dainty beings who dance around with flowers and lollipops, they are a lot edgier in this play. The lollipop guild is replaced by a hip-hop crew, who show off their rap and dance skills for a more modern feel. St. George resident Barbara Nilson said because the show’s budget, if the director tried to just replicate the movie it would have created a cheaper, cheesier feel to the show overall. 

“[The director and the cast] said right at the beginning they weren’t trying to do the movie, and they accomplished something else which was a surprise,” Nilson said.

Other audience members during last night’s preview of the play also praised the show’s diverse approach to the iconic “Wizard of Oz.” Reah Gary, a senior from Millcreek High School, said she loved seeing the steampunk elements, and the approach didn’t detract from the show. 

For those interested in checking out the “Wizard of Oz” play, DSU’s theater department is hosting the show Nov. 14-18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Art Center Main Stage. To buy tickets, visit www.dsutix.com or contact the box office at 435-652-7800.