By Breanna Mathes
The Wizard of Oz, a well-known children’s tale and classic film, is now being performed here by Farmington High School students! The play is from March 21-24th at the Centene Center. Through the 21-23rd the play starts at seven in the evening; on the 24th it is at three in the afternoon. Come see friends and peers perform in this huge event! Despite its exciting plot, however, did you know this lively tale likely has a deep and hidden meaning?
Few may know of the detailed history behind The Wizard of Oz. Originally written by L. Frank Baum, many believe the lively story may actually be a historical allegory of the quests of the little-known Populist Party of the 1890s, who believed that the economy needed more silver added to the gold standard to help the economy. Each character within the story stands for another thing in history. Dorothy, for example, directly reflects the Populists themselves. The Scarecrow stands for the American farmer, which was a lot of who the Populist Party was made up of. The Tin Man represents the factory worker. The Cowardly Lion was in place to demonstrate William Jennings Bryan, the leader of the movement of the time and person who ran for President several times, never winning. The yellow brick road Dorothy travelled on stood for gold currency, and her silver slippers, (they were ruby in the film), represented the silver currency proposal the Populists wanted. The Wizard himself stands for a big leader, such as the President. The Emerald City reflects Washington, D.C. It’s green for money. The reason it’s called “Oz” is due to ounces. The Wicked Witch of the West demonstrates the Wild West; the Witch brutally manipulated her minions, the monkeys, to follow her, a representation of Americans manipulating Native Americans. The Wicked Witch of the East means the industrialization of Eastern America. Remember, Dorothy “accidentally” killed her in the beginning of the story! Glinda supports the Populists. See how all of this adds up?
However, despite the fact that if one conducts research and finds connections to every character and circumstance, the allegory has never been proven. Even though the original book was written around the same time that the Populist Party was on the rise, (1900), and everything fits perfectly together like a puzzle-piece, the author never said if his story was intended to convey political issues. Many think the proposal is crazy, especially since the tale initially comes off as a sweet children’s story, innocent and harmless. Nevertheless, many believe that it’s hidden meaning is true. Could it be a political children’s story?
Lilly Combs, not in the school play, answers if she thinks the allegory is valid.
“I think the idea of the story being tied to the Populists is very interesting. I have heard about a lot of very political or ‘adult’ things being hidden in children’s stories, so it wouldn’t really surprise me if the theory was true. I think that it definitely could be true, but I guess the world will never know!”
Sophia Bond, a Crow and Ozian in The Wizard of Oz play, gives her input on what she thinks of the allegory.
“That’s a really cool outlook on it; I never thought of it that way!”
When asked what all goes into the play and such, she said: “A lot of work goes into it. You have to make the props, practice music, dances, and saying things. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of time for sure.”
In conclusion, it is certainly a fact this upcoming play will be spectacular, not to mention the reader has now learned new insight on the history behind this classic tale. How fun will it be to watch the play now after this information has been shared?