Wizard of Awes

School play's take on 'Oz' impresses with wide display of talent

Dorothy, played by Taryn Gordanier, splashes water on the Wicked Witch of the West Wing, played by Kaylee Rose. The Jock, played by Austin Howerton, stands in the background. Dorothy successfully melted the witch's makeup in Oz High, The Wizard of Oz with a Twist, last week. The play was written and performed by the Mancos High School drama class. Enlargephoto

Courtesy/The Mancos Times

Dorothy, played by Taryn Gordanier, splashes water on the Wicked Witch of the West Wing, played by Kaylee Rose. The Jock, played by Austin Howerton, stands in the background. Dorothy successfully melted the witch's makeup in "Oz High, The Wizard of Oz with a Twist," last week. The play was written and performed by the Mancos High School drama class.

When the curtain was pulled aside and Oz revealed, the teens in the Mancos version of Oz High found courage, love and brains where it had been all along - inside themselves.

Oz High, The Wizard of Oz with a Twist took the audience down a modern journey of self-discovery in a modern-day high school. The play was written by the students as a collaborative project.

Instead of a Scarecrow, Tin man and Cowardly Lion, Dorothy encounters a Kid Without a Brain, a Metal Head and a Jock.

The Jock, played by Austin Howerton, was a hilarious crowd favorite who had great comedic chemistry with the Metal Head played by Asa Kearns and the Scarecrow played by Sam Fleitz.

The Wicked of the West Wing, a cheerleader portrayed by Kaylee Rose, was an antagonist with attitude who served to highlight the over-emphasis we can all place on appearances when her makeup melted and Dorothy triumphed.

While transitions can be especially tricky, the students used the time to highlight talented cast.

Dorothy, played by Taryn Gordanier, took us to Oz High and then back to Kansas with dances that she choreographed herself.

The narrator Anthony Reiners knit together scenes and themes of the play through his spoken poetry. He brought a reflective perspective to the comedy.

"Throughout this time together, we've seen many seas to be weathered, be it knowing inside that you are smart or you don't need love from others to have a beating heart ... somewhere over the rainbow is a place for we all yearn until we learn to be smart, loved and courageous," he said concluding the play.

Initially, the students didn't want to write their own script, but their teacher Amy Morrison kept bringing up the idea throughout the course of a week until they decided to take on the challenge.

"It was really empowering for the kids," she said.