Orange County Theatre Reviews

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

There is so much fascination centered around dragons.  These magical creatures appear in different forms in legends from all over the world and continue to be featured in stories to this day.  In the Chance Theatre’s production of The Dragon Play, some seemingly average folks’ encounters with real life dragons give new meaning to the ideas of love and freedom.

In modern day Minnesota a Woman and Man are living in a house with their son. They are experiencing some marital tension, which the sudden arrival of an old friend of the Woman’s (who incidentally is a Dragon) exacerbates.  In Central Texas, a Loser Boy (I did not name these characters) meets a stranded Dragon Girl, and their friendship is tested to the limits when one of them is forced to leave the other.

The scenic/costume designer, Sara Ryung Clement created a beautiful set.  With an icy blue and white setting, the cold atmosphere placed before us is simple yet easily attributed to so many things: the high altitude dragons experience, the chilly environment the irritable couples create, and of course, the barren land known as Minnesota during winter.  I don’t think the stage’s appearance could be more any appropriate. As for the costumes, tight leather clothing and studded motorcycle vests allow both the Dragon Girl and the Dragon to retain their sex appeal while being believable as a separate species.

The performances are solid throughout.  Despite his possible status as the “least exciting” member of the bunch, special mention goes to John J. Piston.  As the Man he makes two of the best speeches in the entire show. While Piston insists that the monologues are “well written,” in the hands of a different performer they could easily be overblown.  During these moments Piston uses just the right touch of anger and humor.  Another standout performer is Elena Murray who plays Dragon Girl.  She is all scales and grace from beginning to end, which is very pleasing to watch.

The Dragon Play‘s storyline is something of a mystery, but it does not present itself as such, nor does it bother to disguise itself.  It simply spends a lot of time tossing out some interesting ideas.  The idea behind the plot is to provide an experience that blends both everyday life and mysticism.  The play delivers on the everyday but never truly takes us anywhere magical. 





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