"The Wizard of UUs"
The Rev. Greg Ward
This script was adapted from and inspired by another UU parody from the Wizard of Oz whose contact I have since lost. If you read this and know who the original author is, please send the information into the website. Thank you.
April 21st, 2001
Canvass Dinner Entertainment
takes place on the grounds of UU Metro Atlanta North, or in an imaginary
forest on the way to the Wizard of UUs.
Theme: There are high ideals being tied together by bailing wire and shoestring budgets which wouldn’t need to exist if our convictions are as lofty as our ideals.
Props: Red tennis shoes for Dorothy, Fancy clothes and hat for minister, general craft supplies for Religious Education, tin foil funnel for music director, staple gun or small drill for Building Chair, ledger for treasurer.
(President comes out dressed nicely. He comes over to the podium and addresses the congregation. While he is speaking, stage people come and remove his jacket and help him into his dress and wig. He speaks in completely serious deadpan.)
Every community – and, indeed, every individual – encounters a time where their mettle is tested. Where their principles are held up against their challenges. It is in these times they can feel like they are put through a tempest (or a tornado of difficulties). They get a chance to see their friends in a new light, see themselves differently, and even see their community – and their home – in a new way. In such a time, the importance of leadership cannot be underestimated. People within the community need to be able to look upon those who carry the banner with a sense of confidence, admiration and pride. Our leadership here at UUMAN lives by this spirit. I, as your president, have always tried to uphold the standards of courage in the face of adversity and strength of character when it seems our integrity is tested. I hope, in my endeavors, I have been able to show you something that calls to mind dignity and unquestionable moral fortitude. Perhaps in my service to this community, you will one day see something you are called to emulate. (…now fully dressed as "Jim the Good Witch of the South" Jim holds a mirror up to himself and checks out his appearance…) Perhaps not.
Regardless, we are each called to find within the story of our lives the virtues that will help us write the ending that allows us to live ‘happily ever after.’ Religion is just that: the practice of writing the best possible endings to the stories of our lives. We present to you now, the story of "The Wizard of UUs."
(Jenna hurries in with her three children in tow looking flustered and worried.)
Jenna: (to one of her children) Let me look, they didn’t hurt you, did they? It’s just horrible. I can’t believe a place this wonderful can live like this. Auntie Bev?!?! Auntie Bev!?!?
(Bev, Amby and Karen enter)
Jenna; Oh, Auntie Bev… and Uncle Amby… You won’t believe what just happened!!
Poor little things. It isn’t right that they should have to suffer the most!
Bev: Goodness gracious child! What’s all this fuss about?
Jenna: Oh Auntie Bev and Uncle Amby! You should have seen it. That mean old Treasurer practically ripped the kazoo right out of Julian’s mouth. Probably bent his little bicuspids right out. She said there wasn’t enough money for a music program for the kids. And then, when I went to go get the other two, I found Avalon in a pile of children on the playground trying to keep the slide from falling down. And I had to use a shoe horn to get Camelot out of his RE class – they were packed in like sardines!
Bev: Oh, Jenna! You always work yourself into a fuss. Can’t you see, we’ve got work to do here? I’m trying to fix this leaky roof. Now grab a wad of that old chewing gum and help me stuff it in these cracks.
Jenna: Oh, Uncle Amby! You understand. You’ll help us, won’t you?
Amby: Not now my dear. I have to compose a symphony for tomorrow’s service, but the music committee looked at the budget and said they could only afford to let me use one note. I have to think creatively.
Jenna: Karen!! Oh, Karen!! You’ll help won’t you.
Karen: I’m afraid I can’t right now. I’m busy trying to build another classroom with these recycled pizza boxes, bayling wire and duct tape.
Jenna: Ohhhh….. It’s even worse than I thought. I don’t understand! How can a church so wonderful be so short on space and supplies. There’s gotta be a better way. Somehow, somewhere, there’s gotta be the church we’ve been looking for. The church we deserve. Somewhere, where money isn’t always standing between good people and good dreams.
TESTIMONIAL # 1
(Jim the Good Witch of the South speaks from the podium. Jenna pantomimes the action as Jim describes it.)
The challenges facing our heroine did not seem to get any easier. With her mind on what to do about the cramped space and the shortage of money, she inadvertently found herself standing between a bag of cookies and 130 hungry children. Without warning they rushed her, spun her around and overwhelmed her. Her last words before landing in a pile of empty juice cartons was, "There’s no place like home…. There’s no place like home…"
The children tried to revive her by dragging her out to the parking lot, but she was out cold. She kept mumbling about munchkins, Mr. Wizard, and how she needed to find her way toward spiritual enlightenment. When she finally regained consciousness, I was there standing over her. I knew the bump on her head must have been pretty bad because she kept calling me ‘Jim, the Good Witch of the South." She went on about the wicked witch of the budget negotiations, her ruby-red high-tops and needing to see some wizard who would help give her spiritual enlightenment. Before we could stop her she was skipping across the gravel singing this strange song…
To the tune of "YOU"RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD" (sung by a small choir)
Small Choir singing
TESTIMONIAL # 2
(Jim addresses the congregation)
Jim: Meanwhile (rolling his eyes), on her way to find the wizard…
(Karen appears standing on a chair with her arms out like she is a scarecrow. Jenna skips up to her.)
Jenna: Oh my!!! The semi-permeable road goes off in two different directions. I wonder which way I should choose.
Karen: I wouldn’t go that way (pointing in one direction). It’s far too crowded over there.
(Jenna looks around confused and looks around searching for the source of the voice)
Karen (continuing): …but I wouldn’t go that way, either. There are no supplies over in that direction.
Jenna: Are you a talking scarecrow?
Karen: Well, I’m talking alright, but I’m no scarecrow.
Jenna: You’re not?
Karen: No, it’s worse than that, I’m afraid. I’m a director of religious education. And not a particularly scary one at that.
Jenna: Well, what are you doing up on that pole?
Karen: I was put here by our treasurer. She said that we could hold off building more classrooms if she put me on this pole. This way, she said, I could monitor several classes at once.
Jenna: That’s horrible.
Karen: Oh, you don’t know the half of it. (gets down from the chair). Let me tell you how it is…
(Sung to "IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN").
Jenna: That is wonderful! And you dream of doing such wonderful things. It isn’t right that you’re stuck on top of that ol’ pole. Wait a minute…. I’m on my way to see the Wizard of UUs to find religious enlightenment. Maybe if you came he’d help give you the loot to have a better religious education program.
Karen: Well, anything is better than being left hanging.
Jenna: Well, come on then.
(Skip out together, singing "We’re off to see the Wizard")
TESTIMONIAL # 3
Jim (from podium): More determined than ever, Jenna and Karen we’re off to seek the wizard. Hoping that he’d give Jenna some spiritual enlightenment… and Karen a better religious education program…
Karen: How much longer do you think it is till we get to glitter city.
Jenna: Glitter city? I thought the Wizard lived in Emerald city.
Karen: Are you kidding. The wicked Treasurer cut emeralds out of the budget years ago. I was lucky just to smuggle the glitter out of the preschool class.
Jenna: Hey!!! Would you look at that! (points to Amby with a tinfoil cap. They both rush over to him). It’s an honest to goodness Tin-man.
Karen: That’s no tin-man. That’s Amby. He’s the director of Music at UUMAN. Or at least he was before the treasurer got to him.
Jenna (to Amby): What happened?
(Amby holds up his tin foil funnel like a grammaphone to his ear.)
Karen: He can’t hear you. Wait!!! He’s trying to say something.
Jenna: What’s he saying? (they lean closer)
Karen: He says, "sing."
Karen: I think he wants us to sing.
Jenna: (begins to sing, Somewhere, Over…)
Amby (starting to sway to the music): Oh music! It’s been so long, you know.
Jenna: What happened?
Amby: Well, it all started when the treasurer kept cutting the music budget at UUMAN. After a while there was no money for the choir, or for soloists. She said that when we used the piano we could only play the black notes because she had rented out the other ones. I got so fed up one day I told her that she didn’t need a music director. What she needed was a monkey and an organ grinder. So she sold my stool and bought one. I haven’t heard any music since that day and without the music, I’ve developed a tin ear. I can’t hear a note. But what I wouldn’t give to be able to have music again.
Jenna: Oh, you poor dear.
Amby: Let me tell you about it…
(Music plays to the tune of "IF I ONLY HAD THE HEART")
We could have a bigger choir
Jenna: Oh Amby! You are a wonderful musician. And you deserve to have a great music program.
Amby: Yes, but I’m afraid that’s impossible without the money.
Jenna: No! Don’t say that!!
Karen: I know! Jenna is going to see the Wizard so he’ll give her some spiritual enlightenment. I’m going along hoping he’ll give me a better religious education program. You could come with us and perhaps he could help you find a better music program.
Amby: Well, it’s sure worth a try. That is, if you don’t mind.
Karen: We’d be delighted. (turning to Jenna) Shall we?
(Leave singing, "We’re off to see the Wizard")
TESTIMONIAL # 4
Jim: Somewhere, over the rainbow, Jenna, Karen and Amby – still hoping to reach the Wizard and find the church of their dreams – stumble upon the darker part of the forest and become a little worried…
Jenna: Have either of you noticed how dark and quiet this part of the forest has gotten in the last couple minutes?
Karen: Now that you mention it, it does seem a little quiet in these parts. Maybe a little too quiet.
Amby: Do you suppose we could run into any kind of trouble on the way to see the wizard.
Jenna: I certainly hope not. We have lots of people who are depending on us to get to the wizard.
Karen: Yeah. We have liabilities. If we don’t get to the wizard, there will be a lot of disappointed children who are going to wonder where they will find a church that offers what they need.
Amby: Liabilities? Oh dear.
Jenna: And think of what we owe to those parents. About how much they’ve done for us in the past. How much they trust us. We owe them a debt. We have to get through to the wizard.
Karen: Liability and debt? Gracious!
Amby: And think of all the things around the church that need fixing up. We have repairs to think of.
Jenna: Liabilities, debt and repairs, Oh my!
All: Liability, debt and repairs, Oh my! Liability, debt and repairs, Oh my! Liability, debt and repairs, Oh my! Liability, debt and repairs, Oh my!
(Coming into view from the side is Bev wearing a ski mask and pointing her finger through her coat like a gun. She sneaks up from behind the three travelers)
Bev: Alright!! Stay where you are. Don’t try any funny stuff. The first one that tries to be a hero gets it! Just hand over all your supplies.
Jenna: Supplies? What kind of supplies?
Bev: I need duct tape and vice grips and thumb tacks.
Karen: Oh, hey, I think I have some duct tape… and I remember seeing some thumb tacks (rummaging through her purse). But I was supposed to deliver these to RE… I can only let you have a couple of…
Bev (loud and trying to be frightening): Give me that bag!
(Bev starts to chase Karen around in a circle with Jenna and Amby standing in the middle. Karen is screaming. Bev is shouting, "Come back here with that duct tape!" Finally Jenna reaches out and pretends to slap Bev on the nose)
Bev: Oooowwwwww!!! Hey!!! What’d you have to go and do that for? Am I bleeding? Do you have a band-aide?
Jenna: Why you’re not so tough! You’re not so tough at all! Crying at a little brush on the nose. Some repair person you are!!
Bev: That’s right. I’m not much of a repair-person at all. It’s been almost impossible to keep this old place up to the demands. Especially with all the critters coming into it. I keep trying to tape together what we have and expand it as much as we can. But what we really need is a new building.
Amby: A new building? You mean, a new church building?
Bev: I’m afraid so. We’re just to big to keep squeezing into the old one. We’re just busting at the seems. And it seems, those old seams are getting seamier all the time.
Karen: That sounds like you’re in a tough spot.
Bev: Oh… you don’t know the half of it…
(Sung to the tune of "If I only had the nerve")
They keep streaming in each Sunday
Jenna: Oh Bev, you’re not a thief at all. You just want to fix up your church.
Bev: Yea, but it seems I can’t even do that right.
Karen: Maybe if you come with us, the Wizard will give you a new building.
Amby: He’s going to give me a new music program.
Karen: And me a new religious education program.
Jenna: And he’s going to give me some spiritual enlightenment.
Bev: Do you think he’s got a church for me in glitter city?
Karen: There’s only one way to find out.
Bev: Well, let’s go then.
(all skip off singing, "We’re off to see the Wizard")
TESTIMONIAL # 5
Jim: Well, Jenna, Karen, Amby and Bev all made it to Glitter city. And they did find the wizard. But instead of a simple wave of the hand and a few magic words, the answer to their dreams, it seemed, lay down a much more frightening path then they had expected. The wizard promised they would all get exactly what they wanted if they had the courage to venture deep into the uncharted land known as the dark budget-request forest. There, they had to do battle with the wicked witch of the treasury and bring back her magic checkbook.
This was not the news they were hoping to hear. No one had ever, in the history of the budget-request forest been able to loosen the witch’s tight grasp on the magic check-book. But they had come so far. They had built so many dreams that were so worthwhile. They knew they couldn’t go back to the land of munchkins without realizing their dream. So, with courage, resolve and faith, they ventured forth where no church committee had ever gone before.
But the wicked witch of the treasury was expecting them. She cast a powerful spell of scarcity upon them and for a moment they were all filled with grave doubts as to whether they could afford a new church. But somewhere out of the stony silence a magical tune came to the lips of the tin-man. Somewhere, out of the darkness came a vision of a brand new church to the eyes of the cowardly lion. Somewhere out of the emptiness, came the spirit of the children into the heart of the scarecrow. Somewhere, out of the void, a spiritual promise came into the mind of Jenna. And together they mustered up the courage to besiege the wicked witch with their budget requests.
So many budget requests, the witch had never seen. And she was overwhelmed with the sheer power of their nerve.
Shawn: I’m melting!!! I’m melting!!! Who would have thought that someone as cheap as me could be overcome by such requisitions… Oooooohhhhhhhh… I’m melting…. Melting….
Jim: And soon she was little more than a cancelled check. Quick as a flash, the four of them gathered up the checkbook and ran back to the wizard as fast as they could. But when they got back to glitter city they found that the wizard was still hesitant to grant them the church they had come for.
Wizard: So…. You liquidated her with budget requests…. Very resourceful. And now you want your new building, I suppose.
Karen: And our new religious education program.
Amby: And our new music program
Bev: And our new building.
Jenna: And some spiritual enlightenment… if it’s not too much trouble.
Wiz: Trouble!??! Trouble!?!?! You don’t know trouble. Come back tomorrow.
Jenna: Tomorrow? But we’ve done everything you’ve asked. Our dreams are so worthy! We can’t come back tomorrow. We want our church now!
Wiz: You want a new church?
Wiz: You want a new church?
Wiz: You can’t handle a new church!! Try coming up with new sermons all the time!! And help support a community on shoestring!!! And get people excited about social justice… and put out newsletters and adult RE programs and join in denominational affairs… and… hey… pay no attention to that man behind the curtain… he is of no importance… I am the great and powerful Wizard of UUs…. I am the… great… and… powerful…. Wizard…. of Unitarian Universalists…
Jenna: You’re the great and powerful wizard of UUs? I don’t believe this!! You’re nothing but a man with bad fashion sense. You’re a very bad man.
Wiz: Oh, no, I’m afraid I’m a good man, and a good minister. I’m just a lousy wizard.
Karen: What about the financial aid you promised us all?
Wiz: Why anybody can obtain money to fund their causes. That’s a very mediocre commodity. Anyone who truly believes in the future vision and understands the needs of the community will nobly serve and provide their fair share as input. Back where I come from, there are people who donate appropriate and significant portions of their incomes to their congregations to support them to properly operate and to provide extra help in times of great need. They are called Pledge Units. And with no better financial resources than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got – a pledge sheet. So here you are. (Greg hands pledge sheets to everyone on stage and then looks into the audience) Do you all have yours yet? Make sure you fill them out properly by providing your support to this congregation with your fair share pledge.
Bev: But what about Jenna?
Jenna: A pledge card won’t give me spiritual enlightenment, I’m afraid.
(Music for Jim’s entrance)
Amby: Look! Here’s someone who can help you.
(Enter Jim from backstage blowing bubbles)
Jenna: Oh can you help? Would you help?
Jim: You don’t need my help anymore. You’ve always had to the power to go home.
Jenna: I have? Why didn’t you tell me?
Jim: Because you wouldn’t have believed me. You had to learn it for yourself.
Karen: What have you learned Jenna?
Jenna: That if you’re trying to collect large sums of money from Unitarian Universalists, you have to get them all together, feed them well, and amuse them with silly entertainment skits like this one. And hopefully each of them will contribute their fair share to the Canvass pledge goal. Is that right?
Jim: That’s all it is. Now those ruby high tops will take you home in two seconds. Are you ready?
Jenna: I’m ready.
Jim: Then click your heals three times and say to yourself there’s no place like UUMAN, there’s no place like UUMAN…
Jenna: There’s no place like UUMAN, there’s no place like UUMAN…
Jim: There is no place like UUMAN. And we hope, that with all your help, we will find a way to make it home for us and for those who come after us. We hope that you will make this place more than something we dream about. We hope that you will help make this dream a reality.