As the COVID-19 outbreak prevented East High School from holding a traditional theatre camp in Summer 2020, faculty made the decision to conduct the camp online. Participants were challenged to write original monologues pertaining to themes of The Wiz and put on a digital production in approximately five days. They rose to this challenge magnificently. Each student was responsible for recording certain songs, dances, and scenes. They costumed themselves, they picked their own props, they did their own hair and makeup. This video is a combination of pre-recorded material and scenes recorded on Zoom.
The Wiz (1978) is a re-telling of Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of a black homeschool teacher. The film addresses Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, and learning to find home within oneself, among many other themes. In the midst of a viral outbreak and global protests dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement, it seems an all too necessary story return to.
Our retelling of The Wiz finds Dorothy stuck at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, where she is trapped inside a Zoom Call and transported to the land of Oz. Dorothy and her friends’ stories of personal growth led to much discussion between faculty and students about race, equality, the meaning of home, and life inside of a global pandemic. We hope that this video may serve as a source of joy and a reminder that there is nothing more radical than collaboration in times of division, creativity in times of transition, and love in times of fear.