Credit: Paul Clark

With 14 books, a handful of plays, and even a comic strip on the beings and
doings of the magical land of Oz, you would think L. Frank Baum, its
self-styled Royal Historian, had adequately expounded upon the adventures
of the quirky folk of a more colorful universe. However, our hunger for a
more fabulous reality being insatiable, many others have taken up the task
since Baum’s death 99 years ago, producing dozens more books, and, of
course, Wicked and The Wiz. The latest in this
unstoppable efflorescence of fanfic is Anthony Whitaker’s Scraps,
premiering at the Den under the direction of Jamal Howard.

A ragdoll sewn from a superfluous quilt and brought to life with magic
powder, Scraps (Brittney Brown) doesn’t eat, can’t sleep, and uses her
exquisite brain for maintaining a routine that doesn’t offend the local
Munchkins. Made-up dreams and undrunk cups of tea seem her only destiny
until a timely chat with the Tin Man teaches her that all the best things
in life are pretend. Off she sets on a journey to Enlightenment (er, the
Emerald City), where she hobnobs with the upper class: Dorothy and Ozma,
Ojo the Unlucky, Betsy Bobbin, and more, each bitchier than the canonical
stories would have you believe.

The essence of Scraps is her optimism; the essence of Scraps is
its unveiling of the complexity of relationships and identities that are
central to America’s favorite Kansas alternative. The ensemble gleefully
acquiesces to all the shapeshifting required with multiple roles and
moveable set pieces. Charlie Irving brings vulnerability and complexity to
her supporting role as our old pal Dorothy.   v