Face Down – A chapter from The Springer Ghost Book by Paul R. Pierce
Arizona actor, Jenny Marshal was glad to be back at the Springer for her third guest artist appearance – this time as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Jenny had made a lot of friends in her previous stints as a Springer actor, particularly on her last visit when she play Mary Rogers in an elaborate production of The Will Rogers Follies. This show was extra special, though. Not only was she singing and dancing and liquefying witches with a gigantic cast and crew, but she was performing in the very last show that the Springer would do before the 1998 renovation began. The audiences were huge for The Wizard of Oz and there was a palpable air of excitement as well as a sense of history being made.
On the final night of the four-week run, Jenny arrived at the theatre early and climbed the stairs to her dressing room. As she settled down at her dressing table, she took a moment to look over the array of note cards, flowers, and opening night gifts that had been arranged around the makeup mirror and were now spilling across the table. Jenny especially liked the ten miniature Wizard of Oz figurines that a fellow actor had given her. She had spread them out across the back of the dressing table and curved them around the sides so that all the characters were facing her as she put on her makeup.
She perused all of these expressions of affection from her friends and colleagues as she applied her makeup one last time. Then Jenny got a sudden sense of dread. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she felt somehow threatened and afraid. On top of that, she found it difficult to breathe. When she did breathe, Jenny’s lungs filled up with a cold, thick air that seemed sticky and a little noxious. While she struggled to get her bearings, the dressing room lights blinked once and then went off. Jenny sat there for a moment in the silence of the blackened room – listening to her heart pounding a mile-a-minute.
Suddenly, the lights came back on and she took a deep breath. Then she looked at her dressing table. On it, she saw the Wizard of Oz figurines. The statuettes of Dorothy, the Tinman, the Scarecrow and the lion were now all face-down and the Wicked Witch of the West was all the way at the front of the table – glaring and holding her broomstick aloft.