The lion throws his head on the stage and curses. “I can’t hear in this!” he screams. Our first run through of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz is messier than the cyclone which blows through Kansas 15 minutes into the first act. I don’t have an Aunt Em costume yet which I mention to the choreographer/costumer. “Pull one of the dresses out of the laundry basket and try it on.” I dig through the laundry basket full of used square dance dresses and find one that fits. Aunt Em looks like she’s ready for the dance, not really appropriate but hey its better than my underwear. I’m very familiar with the basket since I’m in charge of getting the laundry basket on stage with the torn pillow and placing Toto strategically by the door.
The next day, the day before opening, is supposedly in front of an audience, a preview. Luckily, only a few relatives show up because its still very rough. I bolt down the stairs to change into Aunt Em after the prologue, bolt back up stairs, pick up the laundry basket and discover I’m on the wrong side of the stage. I stumble over a set piece behind the curtain and yelp. its pitch dark, I can’t see a thing in my dash to other side of the stage. After the Kansas scene, I rush back down for a quick change into Locusta, Good Witch of the North. I can’t bolt in an evening dress so I walk quickly up the stairs. My staff is no where to be found, one of the munchkins brings it on halfway through the scene. After the Munchkinland scene, I walk quickly down the stairs and don my Aunt Em costume. Aunt Em bolts back up the stairs to the vomitorium entrance to search for Dorothy and Toto.
I’m utterly exhausted. 3 costume changes in like 45 minutes. I need a bit of costume planning, don’t I?
Opening night, I lay out all the costumes I need in order to pull them on and off quickly. I brought a costume dress from home which looks more Aunt Em and its easier to get into. Assistants are available to help with costume changes tonight, I round up all my props on the correct side of the stage, the lion has a new head, and opening night runs smoothly.
We did it. Now, if only an audience will show up.