This year marks 73 years since the cult film The Wizard of Oz with a sixteen year old Judy Garland made its debut in the United States of America. This simple tale about Dorothy and her eclectic set of companions has captivated audiences for decades now and has prompted critics and intellectuals world over to analyze it and try to figure out what makes it so popular with people. It isn’t uncommon for children’s stories to have deeper subtexts, so many of them do and this one too has been read and re-read for various interpretations. Whether or not The Wizard of Oz was intended as such is beside the point, if it now can function for that purpose, why not?
But, thats not what prompted me to suddenly write about the story. You see, led by some exceptionally gifted musical mavericks that I can call my colleagues, this week the kids at my school put up a wonderful theatrical rendition of this story and like everything my school does, it was spectacular! The magic began as soon as the lights dimmed and the orchestra began to serenade the audience with the soulful version of Somewhere over the Rainbow. And that was just the beginning of the pizzazz and excitement that the middle school kids brought to The Wizard of Oz, a show in which limitations do not exist and boundaries are limitless. A show that teaches them to let love, wisdom and courage be their guiding lights. What a fabulous message to leave our children with.
I was able to walk into the show on several occasions and watch the kids come alive on stage and each time I watched it, my heart and chest swelled with pride. I felt so much satisfaction and sheer delight watching these young children transform in front of my eyes. All across the auditorium sat captivated participants in this fantasy world, interacting with the characters on stage, laughing or screaming and engaging with the performance.
What natural little stars they were…and you should know this, not a single one of them needs a stage in order to shine. They do it every day, but nevertheless the journey they have undertaken in the last few months has been inspiring, to say the least. They have shown unbelievable growth in just a few months. They left their hearts on that stage and I was amazed to see how committed some of them have been, dancing and singing as if their life depended on this performance.
To anyone who thinks magic can only happen in the movies or on the hallowed stages of the West End or Broadway, or thinks that it can only be accomplished through special effects and giant machines, I challenge you to come watch the kids at my school performing. They fly, they sing, they dance and they inspire everyone who chooses to let them do all that…and if that’s not magic, what is?
P.S: I must make special mention of the main cast: Mathew Jose, Anush Singh Arvind, Ananya George, Ali B, Zahan Barucha and Aditi Umashankar….. you kids were amazing. You are so talented and so blessed. Your futures are as bright as the sun and I am so proud of you.