I had never imagined that my simple journey to find food in this giant Dust Bowl of a state would turn into something more. After entering the tent that would send me down a new and terrifying road, my hunger erupted into joking folly. I was sent into a tent by a minutely irritated soldier where I would first meet Phoebe Daring, but someone else was biding their time until the moment was right to bring forth an introduction. That someone was Ozma and, upon our first meeting, I felt a kinship that could fuel me more than food ever could.

For the past year, many of us have been embarking on a journey through the “Kansas Collection” where we have experienced an ARG (alternate reality game) based off of Frank L. Baum’s “Land of Oz.” A few weekends ago was the mid-season culmination of The Speakeasy Society’s “Kansas Collection” where guests were invited to attend THE VOW.

We’ve been taken through different areas of Oz and Kansas, meeting characters along the way that are slightly different from the characters we’ve grown up on in Frank L. Baum’s stories. Each person plays their part leading up to the climatic moment that takes place in THE VOW; however, you need not be familiar with the source material or the previous shows in order to enjoy their latest one. The Speakeasy Society has written the script in such a way as to accommodate all levels of participants.

Prior to attending THE VOW, audience members had to pick a track that they would go down. White was designed for those who were completely unfamiliar and new to the world of the Kansas Collection. Green was aligned with the Scarecrow King. Red was aligned with the Patchwork Resistance, which also came to encompass Phil Daring and Dorothy Gale. Blue was aligned with Revolt and Black was aligned with the Lost Princess. As luck so had it, I chose the Black path while Shannon chose the Blue path. This put us at odds.

(L-R): Colleen Pulawski – Dorothy, John Henningsen – Lyman, Genevieve Gearhart – Phoebe Daring, Jessica Roslyn – Lion

The appeal for me (Sarah) in choosing the Black path or the path to Ozma was because I had connected to her pretty early on in the series. After unlocking the pathway to see her take hold of Phoebe in Chapter One, it was hard for me not to shake her from my mind. There was a relatability there and a person couldn’t help but be drawn to her ambition and desire to take what was rightfully hers. Throw in the fact that I greatly disapproved of Revolt’s actions (come at me, Tinman!) in how they acquired information to use against the Scarecrow King and the observed lack of relevance (in my opinion) of the Patchwork Resistance’s presence in Oz, I knew which way I would turn.

James Cowan – Tin Man

The appeal for me (Shannon) in choosing the Blue path came after much deliberation. As someone who likes to choose opposing sides, I originally thought I was going to align myself with the Scarecrow King, only to finally decide that the Revolt was where I truly belonged. As someone who believes in justice and fighting for what is right, even though there may be casualtys along the way, I knew it would be a risk to stand side by side with my Blue contemporaries, but one that I was willing to take. I look at Ozma and I see a lot of myself in her, especially in terms of ambition, but I also saw a dark side to her that could turn very dangerous very quickly. As much as I would have liked to join the ranks of the Scarecrow King, I knew that in my decision of doing so I would regret whatever the outcome would be. And in the case of THE VOW, I was rewarded in knowing that I made the right decision, even though it was apparent that suffering was going to be brought upon many from the consequences of our actions. Weeks later, I still stand by my decisions and the actions I took, to fight for justice alongside the Tinman and Glinda, even if it was in the shadows.

The show as a whole was expertly calculated. From the open wedding reception, which took place in the most gorgeous courtyard ever, to the wedding ceremony in the cathedral to the separation of the tracks into their own designated storylines, everything came together cohesively and appeared to move smoothly as the audience maneuvered their way through various sequences.

THE VOW is specifically designed so that you can come back to explore other tracks. Each track is different, but ultimately converges into one solid finale that ends in triumph for some and heartache for others. I won’t say more because I don’t like giving away spoilers but this is a show that you will not want to miss. The Kansas Collection: Chapter 5 – The Vow will have three more shows on Thursday, August 23, Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25. Tickets are $80 for Thursday and $100 on Fridays and Saturdays, each ticket comes with complimentary drinks and Hors d’oeuvres during the “reception”. To purchase tickets visit www.speakeasysociety.com.

Christie Harms – General JinJur
Sarah Musnicky
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