My friend Rupert and I had a thing for the Wizard of Oz. I couldn’t tell you how it started but even if I remembered, it would be the kind of story you could only laugh at from being present. It’s enough to know that the origin of this fascination remains blurry. What I do remember is us working long hours at the bar, being infinitely tired but going on and on about the Wizard of Oz…that and the story of a happy corkscrew.

We took advantage of a rare sunny day in England to hit the London streets. We spent one of those perfect days you normally only see in movies. Shut your eyes and imagine a scene from Sex and the City where there’s fancy dining and lots of spending. Except, of course, we were in London, we were both skint and our activities were slightly more cultural so really the comparison is not a comparison at all. Still, I ate creamy strawberry shortcake and he ate bailey’s Hagen Daaz ice cream in its own mini container complete with its mini foldable spoon. We found Rupert Street and photographed the live Rupert next to it, proud tourists that we were. We stopped to have a glass of white wine. I put aside my shyness to be photographed with two live, giant M&Ms in front of the M&M store, where I then proceeded to buy myself a bag of actual M&Ms. We walked slowly in a quick-paced London.

And then, illumination hit us; the Wizard of Oz was on. Topping the day off with the Wizard of Oz musical would be more than perfect, it would be ideal, a continuation of our obsession, an extension of our souls – I am prone to exaggeration.

In the Tate Modern gallery, we saw Damien Hirst’s controversial work. Who truly knows if a divided cow is a work of art? We discussed it at length while enjoying a butterfly room - literally a room full of flying butterfly. I was later fascinated, and then repulsed, by the piece titled the Black Sun. At first gaze, it just seemed to consist of a huge black circle. As I got closer I realized that the texture of the artwork was actually composed of the bodies of dead flies. A bit grotesque, I thought. It has to be said, this guy really has this thing with flies. One construction showcased flies feeding off of a decomposing cow’s head. Now that’s a sure way to get spoken of.

We hopped on the tube and came out at Piccadilly Circus and walked to Leicester Square. As the evening approached, people in suits made way to a hip-looking crowd rushing to their night out in town. The streets were lit up. We were walking by the kiosks selling tickets for London’s musicals. And then, illumination hit us; the Wizard of Oz was on. Topping the day off with the Wizard of Oz musical would be more than perfect, it would be ideal, a continuation of our obsession, an extension of our souls – I am prone to exaggeration.

When the day came, we sat in the theater, on the highest balcony row, as far from the scene as could be but also as excited as the youngsters around us.

Here could have been the conclusion of my anecdote. This would have been called destiny and we would now be entering a debate about how everything is predestined. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t playing Mondays. So we went back to Brum.

We spoke about it for a while, driving everyone insane, fully well aware that this fixation wouldn’t disappear until we had seen the show. There was no other solution. So we went online and bought £17 tickets.

When the day came, we sat in the theater, on the highest balcony row, as far from the scene as could be but also as excited as the youngsters around us. We could have been the oldest in the crowd but London musicals don’t disappoint. It was a great spectacle. The décor was simple but portrayed Oz better than our imagination could. Rupert got momentarily confused at the Yellow Brick Road being blue before changing colors. He thought of stopping everything to make the directors know of this massive mistake. Just in time to avoid catastrophe, the road turned to its famous yellow and so he sat again. The cackling wicked Witch of the West flew over our heads on her majestic broomstick. Toto barked at the perfect intervals and Dorothy sang “Over the Rainbow” along with us. The Scarecrow jigged and the Lion roared as a kitten and the Tin man sang passionately, once oiled of course. No lines were missed or mixed. The voices were vibrant. The classic lived.

Do I have to say it? Of course, the evening was a huge success, so much so that we then became obsessed with Wicked. And so the story repeats itself.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

Boy, those French. They have a different word for everything. Steve Martin