- Behind the Scenes
Our two Totos,
Spirit and Porsche, after a series of auditions, have been successful
in obtaining the role of Toto in the Australian stage production
of the Wizard Of Oz. They have to relocate to Sydney and there are many
adjustments to make and things to learn in the next few weeks.
Imagine how demanding
the lives of their 2 legged friends will be!!!
Lindy puts us in the car and we drive down to the park at Coogee Beach.
There we do a bit of sniffing, scratching and exploring to see if there
are any signs of strange critters which have been in the
park during the night. Then we are taken on a long, brisk walk to keep
us fit. Our little legs get pretty tired after about half an hour and
we thankfully flop down on the grass to have a rest. We have made lots
of friends in the park, both 2 legged and 4 legged. We stop and have
a chat as a lot of people seem to know us.
Sometimes for a
change, Lindy walks us to the Randwick Shopping Centre. She walks us
around the car park so we get used to all kinds of noises and see lots
of people. Then we walk back home. Lindy gets ready to take us to rehearsals.
to the day bed on the verandah, amongst all the cushions and has a dog
Porsche is ever
busy and goes into cat chasing/stalking mode. She snuffles around the
garden, looking under rocks and bushes in the hope that she will find
some unsuspecting lizards to hassle.
Lindy, Spirit and Porsche leave for rehearsals. At first they are held
at Rehearsal Space at Broadway in the inner city. The displayed
schedule for the day determines the days proceedings. At Rehearsal
Space there are many rooms each with its own function.
One room is for singing, one for dancing, one for scene construction
and so on. There is no stage only a big open room and the actors
and actresses places are marked out. We attend dancing
and singing lessons. We just sit, watch and listen. Then we have private
time with Nikki. She is the only cast member who is allowed to pat and
cuddle us. Sometimes she gives us our dinners. She likes us we
know- because we give her wet sloppy kisses and she does not object.
1p.m. Lindy takes
us home for lunch and a bit of a break. We just mooch around
until it is time
to leave for afternoon rehearsals.
At home Lindy has
been getting us used to sudden, loud noises by banging books together,
slamming doors and such like. She even dresses up in a coloured sheet
and dances around us, cackling and shrieking like a witch. At night
she lights sparklers and we sit in the dark and watch them. Boy oh boy,
we have never seen so many sparklers. We sometimes wonder who this strange
lady is why does she do all these weird things? But nothing really
prepares Spirit for the first time she comes face to face with the Wicked
Witch and her broomstick. Little does Lindy know that Aunty Val has
a straw broom at the kennels. If we get boisterous or raucous, Aunty
Val brandishes the broom at us and we know she means business. Now that
Lindy is aware of this fact, the problem can be quickly solved. Some
very tempting pieces of chicken are hidden in the broom and Spirits
penchant for food soon overtakes her fear of the actual broom.
(cowardly lion) is a mountain of a man with a booming voice. When Spirit
meets up with him for the first time, she barks incessantly at him.
Is this huge man a friend or foe of Dorothys? Spirit has to work
this one out for herself. To get accustomed to his heavy, hot costume
Doug was in the habit of wearing a pullover to rehearsals in
the middle of summer. The first time Cowardly Lion wore his tail, which
is suspended from his waist and tends to be a bit unruly, Lion turned
too quickly and his wayward tail smacked Dorothy in the face. OUCH!
Spirit was enthralled with this fluffy thing which bounced around at
her eye level, and she was not sure whether to ignore it or KILL it.
The bulky costume impedes the Lions movements and his huge paws
make it impossible for him to pick up Toto as the script required. A
compromise is reached and Toto is put in the Lions arms off stage.
The whole cast
goes to the Opera House where they meet up with the orchestra.
They just sit around
and sing the whole show. Spirit and Porsche go and listen
to the music for the first time. Porsche is fascinated by the moving
head of the conductor. Why oh why does he have to wave his hands around
so much? There is not a fly in sight.
Porsche is very
pleased that there is a safety net between the stage and the orchestra
pit. This net is in case a prop falls. But Porsche thinks it is there
in case she falls off the stage when Dorothy yells, Run, Toto,
full dress rehearsals are now under way and we are introduced to the
pyrotechnics for the first time. We pass this test with flying colours.
All the wizardry which features in the Wizard of Oz is practised
many times. There are aerial harnesses to check for their workability
and safety. That ordinary person who carries Toto off to
the wicked witch has now turned into a flying monkey. Gee,
this Oz place is sure confusing.
Now it is time
for the preview performances which are played to full houses.
At the first preview
performance Spirit gets a fit of the scratchies The audience
chuckles. Well if a girl gets itchy, shes gotta have a good scratch!
One of the Winkies
kicks so high that one of his leggings flies off and is airborne. Undoubtedly,
after the show closes, this member of the ensemble will be approached
by the Sydney Swans. With a kick like that, who knows where his future
On two occasions
the balloon refuses to go up.
The long dress
worn by the nasty Miss Gultch becomes caught in her bicycle chain. She
has to literally complete the scene wearing the bicycle.
This is the one and only time we feel sorry for nasty Miss Gultch.
Something is happening
this we know. Lindy seems to be a bit jittery. We have both been
bathed, blow dried, combed, and even had smelly stuff put behind our
ears. We must be going on a date.
It is opening night.
The cast is being made up and getting into their costumes. There are
people running around everywhere. Lindy gives Dorothy and Toto one last
The band strikes
up for the overture, the curtain rises and it is SHOW TIME.
as it should and the cast members give fine performances.
After the show
there are many accolades and Nancye has a big smile on her face.
We hear the sound
of many popping corks. Dorothy celebrates with a bottle
of soft drink. All we are offered is our usual drink of water. Oh well,
we suppose that is one of the drawbacks of having four legs.
tell Nancye what we have told you. She might try to muzzle
us. But we think that secretly, she is getting used to us. We might
not say much, but we sure hear a lot.
For any live production
a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes. The Wizard of Oz is no
exception. As time goes by more funny things or bloopers
Keep coming back
to visit us and we will tell you all latest gossip from Oz.
Lindy has a C.D.
that she plays for us. On this C.D. are all recorded noises
from the show. There are birds twittering, barnyard noises, the sound
of the wind (tornado) and many other sound effects. But the only noise
which phases us is the sound of the knocking on Tinmans chest
to see if he has a heart. Both of us run to the front door and
bark furiously. Im glad I dont live next door to Lindy.
Most people play music. Just WHAT is going on in there?
Keep watching as
we update with the latest happenings.
the yellow brick road.
Update 29 Dec 01:
schedule has had some effectson the cast. Trent, who played Nikko the
head of the flying monkeys hurt his back and has been unable to perform.
His place has been taken by Sara . She had a very bad experience with
a dog when she was small and is a bit apprehensive about dogs. At first
Sara is quietly nervous about handling Toto but Lindy reassures her that
Porsche is very friendly and will most likely "lick her to death."
All Sara's fears have now been dispelled and she and the Totos are firm
Guess what Nikki got for Christmas ? A real live duckling called "Quacky".
Nikki was going to bring "Quacky" in to the theatre to meet
the Totos but somehow we do not think this would be a very good idea..
Nikki gave the Totos each a brand new collar which she bought from England.
Spirit got a black one and Porsche a red one. The collars are really "snazzy"
- they even have gold on them. Porsche wore her new collar when she took
her curtain call on Christmas Eve.
The Totos gave Nikki a Wizard of Oz charm bracelet and Lindy a Wizard
of Oz necklace. Everyone in Oz had a good Christmas - lots of nice presents
and plenty to eat.
The Totos would like to give special thanks to all the fire fighters battling
the NSW bush fires - a lot of whom are volunteers . Without their dedication
and bravery in trying to control the raging fires a lot more homes would
be lost. They are the "unsung heroes" of this terrible tragedy.
Thank you all.