Peace, Love, and Coexistence: A Journey through Oz

On May 3, 2006, four students in Cynthia Cohen's COEX 250 course, "The Arts of Building Peace," produced an adaptation of Frank L. Baum's The Wizard of Oz that explored our understanding of the concept of "the other." Walaa Sbeit, Will Chalmus, Julie Albert, and Jennie El-Far took the audience on a journey with Dorothy through the land of Oz, where she met the Scarecrow, the Tinperson, and the Lion. As in the book, the four sought out the Wizard, who gave them a challenge before helping them; but in this version, that challenge is a game show with the four characters as contestants, using real life video recorded interviews of minority experiences of "otherness."

The Characters:

  Dorothy - naïve, ethno-centric, and self-involved, she arrives in Oz with two accessories: a stylish dog and a cell phone that gets no reception.

  The Tinperson - a rigid, cold, and mechanical CEO of a powerful transnational corporation; she is seeking the Wizard to get a heart, because she feels it will fit nicely with her company's new marketing scheme.

  The Scarecrow - a hopeful but uneducated poor man from the Third World seeking empowerment; he wants to get a brain in Oz, because he has good ideas but is easily manipulated and perpetuates his own disadvantage.

  The Lion - a pacifist and a dreamer, he lives in a violent environment and is encouraged to fight but does not; he comes to Oz to find the courage to stand up for something worth fighting for.