Ok, so actually I’ve been back for four days already. And each and every one of those days, I have started to sit down and write about my weekend in Oz, only to find myself at a loss. There’s so much I want to say, yet no words have managed to break the surface that would be adequate enough to accurately do this experience justice.
If you’re just joining me, I wrote last week about an awesome gig that I stumbled upon – I was asked to play both the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, at the Autumn at Oz festival in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. (Read that blog here if you missed it!)
While I enjoyed every minute of my one day as the wicked witch…
(Photo credit: Angela D. Bowles)
… nothing compared to the thrill I got from playing the role of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, for the rest of the festival.
(Photo credit: Jeremy Halsey)
I had no idea how much I would fall in love with that role. And this was not your run-of-the-mill stage acting. This was interaction. Talking to the kids. Getting down on their level. Stepping into their imaginations and letting yourself get transported back to that time when you yourself believed in that land “behind the moon, beyond the rain…”
(Photo credits – Left: Jeremy Halsey, Top Right: Vanessa Schilling, Bottom Right: Megan Wrappe)
I have never felt myself come alive more than I did when I waddled down that yellow brick road in that massive pile of tulle. I’ve asked myself what it was about it that got to me so much. Was it being a ‘princess for a day’? Was it getting to feel pretty? Was it regaining that feeling of innocence for a short while? Was it just the overall feeling of being transported into a world where anything is possible, fairy tales really exist, and good always trumps evil in the end?
Yep. Probably all of that.
But mostly – it was the kids. Oh my gosh, those kids!
I saw some of the cutest sights I’ve ever seen in my life this past weekend. So many adorable little kids came dressed as their favorite Oz characters. We saw everything from little tinmen, scarecrows and cowardly lions to wicked witch wannabes and little Dorothys to…my favorite…little mini-Glindas. (And not to mention quite a few adults dressed as their favorite Oz characters as well – there is definitely no age limit to the love of all things Oz.) I so wish Glinda could have whipped out her camera and snapped pictures of all of this, but something tells me it wouldn’t have seemed very natural to have a cell phone stashed in her pretty pink bubble. (I was already called out once for my non-authenticity when a sweet, precious little girl came up to me and asked, “Glinda, is your wand real? Does it really do magic?” To which I responded, “Of course!” Same sweet, precious child then threw that little hand on that little hip and with a voice about 10 decibels lower than before, stated, “Show me.” Yikes. What’s a good witch to do, ya know??) So, yeah, Glinda with a cell phone? That was a no go.
Thanks to Facebook, though, and one of my co-Glindas (there were more than one of us working the weekend shifts), I was able to snag a cute one of the Lollipop Gang kids that showed up…
(Photo credit: Terrilynn Bell Collins)
Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? We should have hired them on the spot!
Unfortunately, these little cuties showed up on the one day (Saturday) that I was dressed as the wicked witch, and therefore, I didn’t get to have much interaction with them. Although I think I did a pretty good job of being ‘evil,’ it definitely didn’t last for very long periods of time. As soon as one of the kids expressed any fear whatsoever, I immediately broke character and explained that “it was all pretend and I wasn’t going to hurt them…” (To which one adorable little boy responded, bottom lip poofed out and all, “Y-y-y-you’re not gonna hurt me? Pwomise?”) *sigh*
So, contrary to what the men in my past will tell you, being an evil witch did not, in fact, come natural to me. Who knew!?
Heck, even Toto wasn’t scared of me….
(Photo credit: Wendi Wagers)
The weekend ended with three performances for school groups on Monday morning. With these groups, rather than just walking through the park in character, one full cast performed a shortened version of the movie for the guests. A wonderful review of our performance can be found by clicking on this link. Katie Hodges did an excellent job of describing the process and was very complimentary to our acting abilities as well. You’ll see some great photos of the show as well in her review. I know each and every one of us were thrilled to read this and very humbled at her kind words.
All in all, I’ll have to say this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Like Dorothy, I made some wonderful friends along my trip down the yellow brick road, and it is a time in my life that I won’t soon forget. Hopefully, we’ll all keep in touch and maybe even be able to do this again next year. If you missed it this year, and want to come see what all the fuss was about, keep your eye on the website for Autumn in Oz. Tickets sold out fast this year, so bookmark this site and start checking back in August 2014 to get your tickets for next time!
It’ll put a smile on your face, just like it did mine…
(Photo credit: Becky Miller Zaragoza)
So blessed to have been a member of such a fantastic cast.
(Above photos by Megan Wrappe)
(Above photos by Jeremy Halsey)
(Above photos by Becky Miller Zaragoza)
(Photo by yours truly)
Whew. Tired of pictures yet? If you’ll notice, that Glinda sure is a diva. She was even taking selfies in the bathroom…
(Photo by: Oh heck, you know….)
Well. Now it’s time to go.
While it definitely was fun pretending for a while, and even helped me discover a side to me that I may not have even known had ever existed (especially that selfie diva side…sheeesh), it still always comes back to the same ol’ lesson that Dorothy learned.
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” – Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
No matter how much fun it is to temporarily escape once in a while, and even though you may meet some wonderful friends along the way, you always end up finding your way back to where you belong. With memories tucked away, pictures to remember it all by, and … finally … a blog written about my experience, I am back home. Back where I belong.
There truly is no place like home.
“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes