Join us on a behind-the-scenes journey with Mark Audrain, the director of PM&L Theatre’s upcoming production of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Wizard of Oz. In this exclusive Q&A, Mark shares insights into his creative process, the unique aspects of this production, and how it differs from traditional portrayals. Discover the magic that awaits in this reimagined classic that promises to captivate both children and adults alike.
What inspired you to direct The Wizard of Oz?
Its iconic status drew me in. The Wizard of Oz is a cultural touchstone, and I’ve always been fascinated by its story and characters, having read all the books as a child. It resonates with everyone, embodying the idea that we all have inner magic and there really is no place like home.
How are you integrating puppetry into The Wizard of Oz?
Ah, the puppets! We’re using puppetry to bring a fresh perspective to this familiar tale. Just as the Emerald City is seen through green glasses in the story, our use of puppets, non-traditional casting, and reimagined costumes and technical elements invites the audience to view Oz through a new lens, rediscovering the magic and wonder.
What’s your background with puppetry, and how does it play into this production?
I don’t have any background with puppets beyond what every child has to some extent. My inspiration comes from various puppetry shows I’ve seen, especially South African puppet artist Janni Young. This isn’t a traditional puppet show; instead, we’re using puppets to add depth to the well-known characters, enhancing their fantastical elements.
How does puppetry enhance the storytelling in this production?
Puppetry allows us to portray the characters of Oz in their true fantastical form. It helps us recapture the magic and imagination from the original book that might have been lost in more familiar adaptations.
How do you balance tradition and creativity in The Wizard of Oz?
The vision is first and foremost to share the joy of The Wizard of Oz with the audience, in a way that rekindles the childhood joy of discovering these amazing characters. We haven’t really changed anything fundamental, but if the story was a coloring book, we have used some interesting crayons to color it in.
How are you collaborating with your team to bring this vision to life?
Our team, comprised of all volunteers, is learning and growing together. We’ve fostered an environment of open communication and creativity, ensuring that every element enhances the story. The production staff has been amazingly dedicated and creative, and you would never guess this wasn’t the work of seasoned professionals.
What’s your approach to ensuring the show appeals to all ages?
We’re letting L. Frank Baum’s story shine in its true form. The show maintains the spirit of the original, appealing to both the young and the young at heart. If we’ve done our job right the audience will experience something both familiar and unexpected all at once.
What message do you have for the audience?
I invite the audience to open their minds and rediscover The Wizard of Oz. This production isn’t about replacing the classic; it’s about experiencing it in a new and magical way. So, we are asking the audience to have an open mind, put the classic portrayals aside, and rediscover the magic of Oz.
Don’t miss your chance to see this imaginative take on a beloved classic. The Wizard of Oz is a magical journey that transcends age and time, and it’s coming to life at PM&L Theatre. Tickets are on sale now – secure your seats and join us for an unforgettable adventure down the Yellow Brick Road!