No place like home

Merry Old Land 5: Photo taken by Cory Caro
From left to right: Stewart Lewis as the Lion, Elizabeth Olah as Dorothy, Cristopher Bourgeois as the Tinman, and Dustin DeLaune as the Scarecrow

After a long journey away from home, many quickly realize there is no place it. Just ask Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz.” On Thursday, co-directors Mark Lambert and Heidi Alford Frederic bring that moral to Ascension with the production of the classical play about a little girl named Dorothy Gale who was taken from her home in Kansas and dropped into the magical land of Oz.

Lambert and Alford Frederic had this production in mind since last year and in May was finally able to begin rehearsal with the Ascension Community Theatre. Both are teachers at St. Amant High School and are natives and current residents of the parish as well.

Lambert said their production definitely pays homage to the movie, “but we’ve done some technical stuff that we haven’t done here, which makes it unique.”

“It’s funny and there are definitely some groaners in there,” Lambert said about the production, “but it’s just classic theatre.”

Lambert said the cast has been outstanding, “top to bottom.”

“They have been more talented and willing to do anything we ask and it’s been great working with them,” Lambert said.

For Alford Frederic, she’s been impressed with the children who casted as munchkins in Munchkinland.

“They get better and better every night and it’s such a joy to watch them on stage because they are truly excited to be here,” Alford Frederic said. “That’s one of the reasons why I love Ascension Community Theatre is because we want everyone to come here, young, old, middle-aged and just to see them on our stage makes me so happy and it warms my heart and that to me is one of the big things theatre is all about.”

Alford Frederic said the story of “The Wizard of Oz” goes hand-in-hand with who Ascension Parish and ACT.

“There’s no place like home and Dorothy realizes that at the end of the show that what ever she needs she didn’t need to go looking further than her own back yard and in Ascension Parish we are growing every year and becoming bigger and pretty soon we won’t need to go any farther than our own back yard to get what we need to get, and hopefully people will keep coming to us to get their entertainment,” Alford Frederic said. “Hopefully that’ll be something people take home from our show.”

Elizabeth Olah, a recent graduate of East Ascension, will play the role of Dorothy Gale. Olah said her personality relates to the character in certain areas.

“She’s very nonjudgmental and open to everybody and I’m like that too,” Olah said. “I never meet a stranger.”

On the dark side, Lee Ferris, will act as the Wicked Witch of the West, a role she said has been fun.

“The directors have been great and I’ve really appreciated them casting me because it’s fun,” Ferris said. “I tried for the witch because I said well I’m too old for Dorothy and too tall for a munchkin.”

“I would like to think I’m not like her although my kids say well mom you really don’t have to do much acting,” Ferris said.

Ferris added, “The cast has been a lot of fun to work with and there will be a few surprises.”