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Sunday, 29 November 2009

A little more on red shoes...

Whilst researching the red shoes post below I emailed Amy Leach, Co-Artistic Director of the fantastic En Masse theatre company, whose production The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is on at The Dukes, in Lancaster, until 2nd January. I'd read that theirs was a more faithful representation of the book than we're usually treated to, so I was intrigued to know whether they'd kept the book's silver shoes or changed them to the ruby ones most people are familiar with.

Amy says:
'The film is brilliant and a favourite of ours, but we felt that it was important to find a way of telling the story onstage which was theatrical rather than filmic. So whilst we've still left out lots from Baum's original tale... we kept his original silver slippers. The ruby ones worked brilliantly in the film, especially as they embraced the advances in Technicolor. But our silver ones still get lots of gasps as they are so sparkly.'

And they have also given another piece of footwear importance in the story:

'I think shoes in fairytales and stories have such a potent power and one thing we have changed, which is our own addition to the narrative, concerns the shoes. Near the start of our version, Dorothy goes to discard her worn old boots when she puts on the glittering shoes. She is unhappy that they were made by her Uncle Henry and she really wants some new ones. Glinda holds onto the boots "just in case". At the end of the play, Glinda reappears to tell her that the silver shoes aren't powerful enough to get her home and that she should put her old boots on. As Dorothy puts on the boots, made by her loving Uncle, she remembers the comfort and care of her home and it is these worn old boots that are clicked together to send her home. As a little nod to the film, our worn boots are laced with ruby red ribbons. So we've tried to give the shoes in our new version more power and symbolism.'
There's a rich crop of fairy tale inspired productions on in the UK this Christmas (see the many links in the sidebar), and this is one that's happily close enough for me to get to see - I can't wait!

(yes, I included the picture of my red shoes again, I couldn't help myself!)

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