‘Dark Side of the Rainbow’ by Rose Theatre


We’ve all heard the urban legend about the uncanny sync between Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Even though The Wizard of Oz wasn’t available to use as a reference at home in the mid-1970’s, the similarities are unparalleled.

Certain lyrics match the action on hand almost perfectly. “The Great Gig in the Sky” plays as Dorothy’s house is swept away, “Brain Damage” plays during the Scarecrow’s introduction, and the ending heartbeats of the album matching with the Tinman. How two distinctly different staples of pop culture match up so well will live on as one of the most bizarre coincidences of all time.

The Rose Theatre has taken the concept further in “The Darkside of the Rainbow,” blending the classic album and the psychedelic aesthetic of the band’s music with the actual storyline of the film.

This is actually the third fairy tale reinterpretation that the Rose Theatre has put on. Last year’s “Alice and The MK Ultra Experiment” incorporated Cold War politics and human experimentation, while this re-telling keeps in line with the film.

But then that speaks to the story of Oz itself. “Alice in Wonderland” could either be interpreted as a commentary on modern mathematics or the mad non-sequential wonderments of the imagination. “Oz” is more straightforward: the simple story of a girl trying to return home and remembering what’s most important to her.

The play still maintains that enduring aspect of the film, but with the addition of Pink Floyd’s music and the emphasis on the bizarre visuals. However, since the second act didn’t have to keep in line with the original album, they missed an opportunity to be much more creative, in particular addressing certain flaws of the film (like when Dorothy returns from Oz, isn’t Toto still going to be taken away?).

Although the low budget sometimes shows, especially with the t-shirt wearing company and the non-green arms of the Wicked Witch, the use of lighting and the natural intimacy of the black box theater help to compensate.

The cast, for the most part does a good job of developing their characters from the ground up rather than trying to pantomime the feature film directly, except perhaps for the Wicked Witch of the West, although she’s certainly a more violent version. Monique Sleeper as Dorothy manages to make her character more grounded than the “golly gee!” attitude of Judy Garland.

The play, which is BYOB, will have two encore performances on April 1 and 2 at 7:30 PM for $8. The Rose Theatre is located at 11838 Wurzbach Rd. at Lockhill Selma; call 210-360-0004 for more info. See you on the dark side of the moon, lunatics.