Oz in the News 1.4.17

407a946a9cd8ff9197827a7d9d186913This ‘Wizard of Oz’ Experience Beams Dorothy to Your Smartphone Theater, that seemingly-traditional artform, gets a modern twist with the introduction of augmented reality technology, which turns the passive audience experience into an interactive one. Elements of Oz, a tech-driven celebration of the classic escapist film The Wizard of Oz, uses smartphones to deconstruct and revel in the enduring popularity of the iconic story. Created by New York-based intermedia ensemble The Builders Association, Elements of Oz reenacts Dorothy’s journey through a mixture of IRL and digital tools, like live performance, a custom-designed app enabling engaging visual overlays, and a virtual YouTube chorus that sings Wizard of Oz classics. Directed by Builders Association Artistic Director Marianne Weems and co-created and written by James Gibbs and Moe Angelos, Elements of Oz dazzled audiences at 3LD Art & Technology Center, a hub for tech-driven live performance. The Elements of Oz online experience begins the moment audience members decide to attend. “We asked ticket buyers to download [the Elements of Oz app] when they first purchased a ticket, and then they got a follow-up reminder closer to the date of the performance,” Weems says. The show app is available on iPhone and Android.

Vincent D’Onofrio on His “Complicated” Wizard in ‘Emerald City’ and the Return of Wilson Fisk “It was terrible! It was like some seagulls found my head and while I was asleep, they made a nest. Some dirty seagulls from Venice Beach. I kept thinking about these British actors in the ‘70s. I watched tapes of them on YouTube doing Shakespeare and they all had these ridiculous wigs that looked like helmets. I thought this guy really just needs to be someone he’s not, and it’s not like they have a wig guy in Oz. He wouldn’t be able to bring the best wig guy to Emerald City to fit The Wizard, so it had to look like a bad wig that fell out of a window and hit him in the head. There were a couple of days where I actually wore a bald cap, a wig on top of the bald cap that was supposed to be The Wizard’s real hair, and then a wig on top of that.”

Director Tarsem Singh, Star Vincent D’onofrio Map The Winding Road To Magical Emerald City’s Premiere The series adds emphasis to the technological prowess of the great and powerful Oz, here played by Vincent D’Onofrio as “The Wizard” — he is a modern man who tames a magical realm with science. But, like the humbug Wizard of the original novel and actor Frank Morgan’s Wizard in the famous film, he has secrets, too — secrets that Singh said he could only entrust to D’Onofrio to reveal. “Truly, when I went in and they asked me, I just said that there is only one person that can do opera, theatrical, big grandness, and become pathetic whining person at the same time. There’s only one guy, and it had to be him,” Singh said. “When I looked at this, I just said, ‘This is by definition, it’s a fraud. It’s a security guard who thinks, ‘How would Orson Welles play this?’”

Emerald City Review: NBC’s Oz Reboot Has Courage, Short on Heart and Brains Since it has 10 hours to fill, Emerald City pads the original Oz story with side characters from other L. Frank Baum Oz books like the young boy Tip (Jordan Loughran). But with too many plotlines to tend to, the narrative ends up feeling sluggish, dragging its feet on the way to the titular city. The Dorothy/Lucas coupling is meant to set off sparks a la Once Upon a Time‘s Emma/Hook, but their romance is more dutiful than convincing. And intriguing characters like the Wicked Witch of the West — here, a sultry opium addict played by Ana Ularu — are left frustratingly undeveloped.


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