WIZARDS OF OZ, OR ONE DAY AT SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE…
DO YOU BELIEVE IN FAIRYTALES?
If you ever want to make an event for children, you have to know two main rules: first, prepare thoroughly; second, know that everything will not go as planned!
In our case these rules worked like clockwork so that even the wicked witches while hiding from the kids would repeat: OH MY GOD!
In my childhood the words “witches/demons/wizards” would usually ignite so much fear and excitement, but not now. The kids of SOS children’s village look at the world of fairytales with open eyes: they are not afraid of the green-faced scary villains. Instead, they would circle me, Zhanna and Raushan (the wicked witches of OZ country) every time we would approach them.
“I am holding her broom, you, guys, attack her from behind!” The kids were shouting when they saw my green-faced dark figure. The wicked witch had to run. Should we say that WE were a little bit startled from the very beginning?
PLAN B: SOS from the children’s village!
However, I skipped ahead. That morning was wonderful: neither hot nor cold. We came to the place in advance to prepare ourselves for the “Oz quest-game”: we were dressing up, making the costumes, repeating the words and doing make-up laughing at the reflection in the mirror. Everything went according to the plan…
“The kids are already waiting for you!”- A village’s worker asked us to begin the game and we moved into positions: Ellie (Anar Issayeva) and her dog Toto (my little brother Azamat) went right to the children and started the quest while a Tin man (Kanat Bazaraly), the witches, winged monkeys, the Cowardly lion (Yura Prokopenko) and Scarecrow (Aset Abuov) were hiding in the playground waiting for their turn to perform.
However, five minutes later we were already confused by the noise and shouts that came bursting out of the meadow where children were playing the game.
“Why he, not me?” “I don’t like this name!” “Oh, no, don’t touch this!” “Put it on its place, please!” Anara’s (Ellie) tender voice now was working on the maximum volume. “Fortunately, I am not playing Ellie”- Aigerim Kosheken whispered right behind me. Now we were enjoying being just a witch and a winged monkey, whose mission was to scare and startle the kids.
“Don’t dwell on the script and the roles! What we need now is to control the situation” – Yura “the Cowardly Lion” was already unfolding a new tactics as if it was not the playground, but the real battle field and we were the guerrillas with the war paint on the faces. Plan “A” – the good children doing everything right as we want it – had already been undermined. It was the wicked witches and the inhabitants of “the magical forest” who now were getting nervous and a little bit scared!
“Repeat your number one after another like in the army!”- The Cowardly Lion was getting less cowardly. Sure, there were no such words in the script. We no longer stuck to it. Even if we wanted, we couldn’t: Raushan (the wicked witch) told me later that children had been asking her to be kind and good despite she was the witch as well as they began to listen to me once I said: “I want to be kind-hearted, how can I gain this trait?” Children answered with no doubts: “Goodwin will help you!”
Did the author put any meaning into the name of the main wizard of OZ? My answer is “yes”. “Goodwin” (Aset Omirzhanov) is telling us that good always wins. This plot development is quite typical for all fairytales. But now I think we all perceive it much deeper than we did before.
What an orphan child can dream about? Family in which everybody would be kind and heedful to each other. Probably that’s why they feel any kindness and sincerity so keenly. Probably that’s why they were quite uncontrollable and even aggressive with the witches – the embodiment of evil and bad luck, constantly repeating “we are not afraid!” Zhanna (the main witch, Bastinda) might long remember the way children were trying to chase her;)
We’d been told before the event that children here are hyperactive and it’s difficult to manage them. There might be the reasons: as any children they need attention, but here they have to fight for it. Therefore it was a challenge for most of the kids to play in the team as each of them would try to grab our attention sometimes shouting and disobeying us. Thank you guys, Yura (Cowardly Lion), Kanat (Tin man), Aset Abuov (Scarecrow) and Aset Omirzhanov (Goodwin), for patience, attentiveness and making children trust you! Aset O. even found a little helper among the kids and named him – Goodwin Jr.!
They say that children are the most outspoken humans; they haven’t learnt to be mean yet. The kids of SOS children’s village taught us how to befriend, trust, love and be attentive towards people. The story of Kanat, when a little girl, whom he hadn’t has a chance to chat with, presented him a chocolate, brings a salty tear to the eye; or the Albina’s moment, when a kid gave her the flowers, is so adorable and touching.
Probably, most of the guys would tell you that the expectations didn’t meet the reality because the reality was a way different than we could have imagined. Personally I expected the obedient kids listening to every word of mine and doing everything I tell them according to the plan and the script. But it turned out to be exactly the other way round, in other words, it was better than I could ever think! The feeling that you managed to present a holiday for children which as they told us would be remembered for long days is incredible and inspiring. I am writing these lines three days after the event but still feeling the excitement and even missing the kids, the place and the emotions I’ve got.
By the end of the fairytale Ellie, her dog Toto, a Tin man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion ultimately reach the main wizard of OZ. They all think that Goodwin will bestow on them courage, mercy and mind. The wizard gives a Tin man a heart made of pieces of cloth, the Cowardly lion is gifted by the water of courage and Scarecrow gets a bag full of needles that represents a sharp mind. Yet all these gifts didn’t have any power. Goodwin wasn’t a magician, but he made the characters believe that they were smart, brave and merciful ones.
As Goodwin none of us has the magical power, but still we can make a change. It might seem to be just a game or just a holiday, but do we know what it means for the children whose world unlike the adults’ still full of miracle and expectations…
ELLIE – ANAR ISSAYEVA
TOTO – AZAMAT DUISSEBAYEV
GOODWIN – ASET OMIRZHANOV
A TIN MAN – KANAT BAZARALY
COWARDLY LION – YURA PROKOPENKO
SCARECROW – ASET ABUOV
THE WICKED WITCHES – RAUSHAN SATIBALDIYEVA, SAULE TEMIRBAYEVA
BASTINDA – ZHANNA KUSAINOVA
WINGED MONKEYS – AIGERIM KOSHEKEN, NASSIPZHAN KOSHANOVA, ZHANYLSYN ZHUMAGALIYEVA
CAMERAMAN – ANEL MURZAGALIYEVA