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The "HayesWire" by JJ Hayes

My Memories Of Being In The Wizard Of Oz

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Yes, there is some truth to the headline.  I REALLY was in the Wizard Of Oz.  Okay, maybe I should be more specific.  I REALLY was in my High School's presentation and adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz.  I say adaptation, because if not for the creative liberties taken with the script and the fact that I still had a trace of my British accent, I would have never been in it.  

I was in 8th grade and this was a High School play, but since I was the only British kid in a small town I was approached to play the VERY SMALL and not often talked about role of the Butler to the Wicked Witch.  This was my shot, my big break, I jumped at the chance.  In hind sight, I probably should have asked a few more questions about costuming and make up.  It turns out that my 15 minutes of fame (that's 15 minutes on stage with ONE speaking part) was the one role that required the most make up and a costume that included black pantyhose.  

Anyway, I had committed, there was no backing out now.  I attended rehearsals and night after night during the run of this production, I played my role with the spirit of the greatest of actors that had come before me. 

So here we are on the 75th Anniversary of one of the most beloved films in history.  Just like I had the pleasure of watching "The Sound Of Music" in Vienna, Austria for the first time ......I'm looking forward to watching The Wizard of Oz here in Kansas.  There is just going to be something extra magical about it. 

Despite all this, the reason I love this memory the most is because the Wizard of Oz always makes me think of my Nana.  An unbelievable woman who survived both World Wars (The first as a child in London and the 2nd helping soldiers near the front lines) and whom I miss deeply every day.  She was the giver of the greatest love and advice that a Nana could give and she was there opening night to sit through a 2 hour play to look up on stage and see a person in costume and make up and pantyhose that she wouldn't have known was me if I didn't tell her.  

She was the one, when I walked out on stage I looked at.....and there she was a few rows back pulling a banana, a hard boiled egg and a salt shaker out of her purse and she was having a snack.  You see, my Nana never was afraid to be who she truly was....she was proud of it.....and it was at that moment, my stage fright left me.  That night, she was the Wizard who gave this Lion his courage.


till next time!

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