On Sept. 20, the BJU stage department will present alumnus Dave Burke in Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon. The one-man play’s puppetry and set design will transport the audience to a time and place when knights and dragons were fashionable.
A Mannerly Dragon
The story of The Reluctant Dragon is about a little boy who discovers a dragon living in a cave not far from his home. Instead of being a ferocious, man-eating beast as fits the dragon stereotype, this dragon is, well, a gentleman. He loves poetry and being mannerly.
When the townspeople discover the dragon, they assume he is a dangerous beast and don’t take the time to get to know him as the little boy did. The town sends for St. George to eliminate the perceived threat, but the dragon has to be talked into even coming to the fight. Eventually, a result that appeases everyone is reached, but not without a few kerfuffles along the way.
A Trifold Goal
The stage department has three main goals for this production. The first, as stage manager Rod McCarty said, is “to throw in a program … that would offer some variety.” The Reluctant Dragon is not only different from the typical concerts and play performances in that it’s a one-man show, but it also includes puppetry. Distinct from marionettes, these puppets will be moving around on stage with Burke as characters in his play.
A second of the stage department’s goals is to bring visitors to campus. The story was originally written for children, and kids of all ages will find the puppetry entrancing.
The third goal for The Reluctant Dragon is to bring alumni back to campus. Says McCarty, “One of the things that (productions like) this does is it gives local grads an opportunity to do something with their university, with their alma mater. And I think that’s very important … for the students that are here. They can see that we’re reaching back to the former students who were here.”
The Reluctant Dragon will be an enjoyable event for all who attend.