Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 16, 2023
We’re not in Deer Isle anymore
Island students to perform The Wizard of Oz, opening November 17
Over 100 students are involved in the play, both on stage and off. Featured above is Quincy Lincoln as Scarecrow, Isabelle Teague as Dorothy, Maria Carter as the Tinman and Charlie Lincoln as Toto.
by Will Robinson
“Come and get ‘em!” shouts John Lincoln as a dozen elementary school flying “monkeys” rush towards the stage of the Reach Performing Arts Center. Lincoln is the director of both the Deer Isle-Stonington theater program and this year’s school production, The Wizard of Oz.
After the monkeys run on stage and “attack” Dorothy and company, Lincoln tells them, “Run it again. Those monkey screeches are at like a five; let’s bring it to a 10.”
Including cast and crew, this year’s production includes over 100 students, from kindergarten through Grade 12, about one third of the student body. Some cast members, like Stage Manager Charlotte Adams, are veterans of the stage, whereas Kennith Cobb, who plays the Lion, is acting for the first time.
“This is one of the big iconic productions,” Lincoln said. “It’s an iconic family story, but it’s pretty dark, and the kids are figuring out their own idea of it.”
As he spoke, Lincoln gave stage directions and words of encouragement to his students. Last year’s play, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, saw a similar amount of student participation but had the speaking parts spread out over a large main cast. The Wizard of Oz, Lincoln said, has only eight or nine principal roles.
“It’s asking a lot of far fewer actors,” he said, gesturing to Dorothy, the Lion and Scarecrow rehearsing a scene on stage.
With only a few days till show time, the pressure was on, but Lincoln said the cast, crew and volunteers have risen to the challenge. In particular, Lincoln said he’s fond of the “munchkin scene,” where over 70 students are on stage at once.
The play opens on Friday, November 17, at 6 p.m. in the Reach Performing Arts Center. Other showings will be on Saturday, November 18, at 6 p.m. and Sunday, November 19, at 2 p.m. Admission is free; donations are encouraged.
When the curtains open, Lincoln said the audience can expect to see “70-plus kids who’ve worked their butts off to put on a spectacle of a show.”