Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Opening Prayer - Part V


CLICK HERE TO READ PART IV

“But tell us,” asks the Tin Woodman, “how you handed out the hot air to these Emerald City folks, and held your job so long when we got onto you the first rattle out of the box.” 

The Wizard sings his reply:

When you want to fool the public you will
Find that all you need to do
Is just to blink your eyes
And look extremely wise
And tell ’em you are quite a few!
For everybody loves to feed a fake
They love to cry “Gee Whiz!”
“How wonderful it is!”
No matter how absurd your schemes;
That’s right,
It’s a sight
To watch the ninnies bite!

Just humbug the people well
If ever you wish to excel;
Their future foretell or work ’em a spell—
They’ll never get on to the fact that it’s a sell.
SCARECROW:
It’s a cinch you never let any of the Emerald City people hear you sing or you’d be looking for a new job long ago.

“Hold on a minute,” says Oz. “I’m not a wizard, but it may be I can fix you up with what you want. “ Oz goes to a cupboard [somewhere on stage] to retrieve a “book of recipes”  left behind by the previous wizard.

OZ:
Let’s see.—brains—brains—calves’ brains—

SCARECROW:
That won’t do. I draw the line right there. I’m willing to stand for any old kind of brains you’ve got left over, shop-worn goods, marked down, from the bargain basement or any other kind except calves’ brains.

Oz continues flipping through the recipe. “Here we are—“brains for scarecrows.” Oz returns to the cupboard, to fetch a bowl, a box of bran, and needles and pins. Dorothy asks why Oz is adding the latter ingredients.

OZ:
To make him sharp, of course.
TIN WOODMAN:
(to Scarecrow) You’re stuck.

Oz rips open the Scarecrow’s head, inserts the brains, and sews it back up—much like he does in the book. Oz is now ready for the Tin Woodman, offering a heart that was left behind by a young fellow who had committed suicide.

Baum seems unable to make up his mind who his audience is. The tone of this script shifts wildly from the child-friendly and overly-cute Munchkins, forced to box each other’s ears, to this gruesome origin for the Tin Woodman’s heart. Horrors aside, the scene is long and over complicated. The Tin Woodman and Oz discuss the suicide victim’s former girlfriend, if the Tin Woodman will take the heart with him or have it sent, finally enacting some awkward stage business where the Wizard cuts open the Woodman’s chest and then patches it after installing the heart. 

OZ:
(To Dorothy) And now it’s your turn. Is there anything in the book that will help you out?

DOROTHY:
Is there a first-class ticket to Kansas there, including a lower berth in the sleeper?

OZ:
I’m afraid not. The old wizard who got up this book never heard of Kansas and did all his riding on a broomstick.

DOROTHY:
Then must I stay forever in this awful country?

SCARECROW:
You ought to be able to stand it. You have lived in Kansas.

The Wizard suggests Dorothy travel to Glinda the Good, who lives in the South. “She is not a humbug and therefore has never become as powerful with the people as I am.” The wizard lets the trio in on a secret, too. 

OZ:
I’m going away myself just as soon as I can. [. . .] I’ve got a big balloon here ready to make my escape [. . .] I’m afraid there is something doing right now and I’m going to have the airship ready to sail at a moment’s notice.

He asks Dorothy if she would like to accompany him in the balloon.

DOROTHY:
Could we reach Glinda’s country?

OZ:
That depends on how the wind blows. We’ll see this afternoon.

This curious bit of information means that all of Act II up to this point has been happening before noon.

OZ:
In the meantime I will have some of my people do a few stunts so you can see how it feels to be a real potentate.

Oz announces, “Let the revels begin,” and invites Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman to join him on the throne to watch the entertainment—much like Clara watches the Russian, Chinese, and Arabian dances in the ballet of The Nutcracker. These Emerald City “revels” will be developed into the “Ball of All Nations” celebration the Wizard calls for in the produced show. And the script doctors will have the sense to allow the stars to perform, not just sit and watch the chorus.

The Wizard’s attendants enter (sixteen men and women) dressed in court costumes trimmed with mystic emblems. They sing and dance a Minuet. The music is that of the “minuet” from the fancy-dress ball in Act II of The Octopus. This same music will eventually become the “Poppy Song” in the produced version of the show.


“Minuet Chorus”
Sung and danced by eight men and eight women

In the throne room of Oz,
the Mighty one,
We daintily tread,
Who so graceful and so fascinating?
Who so coy and captivating?
All the mazes of courtly minuets
We skillfully tread,
We are glowing with delight while
Into the dance we are led.

While the strains of soft music float
Our very souls to ensnare,
We can never, never, tire of dancing—
Every motion is entrancing!
[Line missing here]
Ev’ry heart free from care;
There’s an ecstasy in each step
That’s far beyond all compare!

Glide—with proud and stately stride!
And then with spirits gay
We slowly whirl away.
Bow—to ev’ry partner now!
And then with perfect grace
We chassez to our place.

Oz introduces Dorothy and her friends to his Courtiers, presenting the trio as fellow wizards come to learn a few new tricks before traveling on to visit Glinda the Good.

The Guardian of the Gates enters and warns they will never reach Glinda. “The road is beset with dangers. The woods are full of terrible monsters.”

TIN WOODMAN:
You are the worst man I ever saw for trying to stir up trouble.

The Guardian also warns Oz that the people of the Emerald City think the Wizard’s powers may be waning. Oz decides it’s time to depart.


“Finale Act II”
OZ and CHORUS
OZ: A man may circumnavigate the globe—
CHORUS: In sixty days

OZ: Or fly through the air, the birds to emulate—
CHORUS: In many ways!

OZ: The secrets of the planets he may probe—
CHORUS: With microscopes!

OZ: But no one yet has ever conquered fate!
CHORUS: Or ever hopes—
To conquer fate—
To conquer fate!

Though your strength be great,
Though of wisdom you may prate
Though you bluster like an eastern potentate;
Though you early work and late,
Though you’re strictly up-to-date—
’Tis beyond your power to ever conquer fate!

TIN WOODMAN: A man may win the love of any maid—
CHORUS: If he can last!

SCARECROW: Or in his head a pot of brains locate—
CHORUS: Of knowledge vast!

DOROTHY: Or face an awful danger undismayed
CHORUS: By any fear!

DOROTHY: But trembles when he’s face to face with fate—
CHORUS: And that is queer!

No man is great
Enough for fate!
Though his strength be great,
Though of wisdom he may prate
Though he blusters like an umpire at the plate
Though to knuckle he may hate,
Though he’s not a cowardly skate—
’Tis beyond your power to ever conquer fate!

ENSEMBLE:
Then let us bow to fate’s most stern decree,
Since from her thrall, we never are free;
Men are but puppets, buffeted through life,
Helpless to stem the tide of woe and strife.
Yet there’s a Fate that kindly seems to be,
Granting us pleasures, as you’ll agree;
Courage will often coax a smile from Fate,
So let us courage cultivate!

Baum's Act II finale does little to advance the plot, but perhaps the last couple lines were Baum's attempt at working the "courage" theme back into the show after cutting the Cowardly Lion at the end of Act I.

The "Finale Act II" is followed by a “Transformation scene showing outside of palace with Oz ascending in balloon, others waving goodbye to him."

Baum's own description of the "Transformation" at the end of Act II.

There is no indication of any action or point when Oz leaves to prepare the balloon. And no further discussion of his taking Dorothy to Glinda. We must assume the winds were blowing the other way.

Curtain.

TO BE CONTINUED

Copyright © 2019 David Maxine. Allrights reserved.

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