Oz in the News 5.8.15

700783-80cb1f68-f460-11e4-a612-de10ee614f00Emily Milledge, the actor playing Carrie, Antigone and Dorothy (not all at once)   “Kansas is painted as such a bleak grey place Dorothy wants to vacate, but as soon as she arrives in Oz, the whole actual journey is her wanting to return home. And people are quite entranced by how Judy Garland’s story fits into The Wizard of Oz; all the things that went on on the set of the 1939 film.  We’re departing aesthetically from the film but it’s very true to the fundamental story and we’re delving into the psychology of Dorothy. In the book it seems as though a lot of things happen to her: she is flung into this environment where she’s faced with all of these things, but we’re examining it more from the idea of an internally driven journey and the cyclone that erupts inside of Dorothy.”

This Wizard of Oz won’t scare you  How is it that Jacobs’s version, a radical rethink and deconstruction carrying a warning to leave the kiddies at home, has all the terror of a trip to Luna Park? The first answer is that The Wizard of Oz feels distinctly underdeveloped, particularly in the second half as some shop-soiled or overextended ideas jostle with images of real or potential potency. The second answer is that Oz has a languid, life-is-a-tired-old-cabaret quality that sucks the danger from images of dislocation, physical torment, gender fluidity, identity, sexual awakening and the painful, confusing business of growing up female.

The Wizard of Oz review (Belvoir, Sydney)  Jacobs constantly plays with traditional images of femininity, warping them from one to the next. It speaks clearly to how a woman changes her role, appearance and sexual identity as she progresses through life. The connections which she draws between the women are often unexpected, and open up a multitude of narrative possibilities. As Dorothy finally confronts the witch, the witch also appears in Dorothy’s iconic, girlish dress. They grasp hands, staring out into the audience, as the witch slowly breaks down. Dorothy strips and robs the witch of her sexual power and then murders her with a method more humiliating than a simple drowning. But who has Dorothy become in this violent act?

The Wizard of Oz review: It’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road when Belvoir digs into a classic  Dream logic prevails, though our familiarity with Baum’s book and the 1939 MGM film keeps the story within reach at all times. Costume (Kate Davis), lights (Emma Valente​) and soundtrack (Max Lyandvert) frequently have the audience joining the dots to the source material. However, for all its seeming strangeness this Wizard of Oz never makes a truly surprising veer from the beaten track. There are some very arresting images, and the best scenes have that hurly-burly desperation of a nightmare, as when Dorothy pelts the Witch with black water balloons.

The Wizard of Oz | Belvoir  This is not the MGM version. There are no munchkins and the lion wears a sex-muzzle. It is bleak and a little terrifying. Children will cry a little, grown men a lot. This is theatre of smoke and nipple (both abound), but little meaning. Dorothy’s friends are menacing totems, ghoulish and witch-like. The Wizard is a kabuki power-woman with a radioactive efflorescent mask. This Wizard of Oz happens somewhere between West African vodun and bad acid trip. In other words we are a very, very long way from Kansas.

 

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