A dragon is descending on Smithton today and Saturday, but don’t worry it’s the only one left in the world, according to the Smithton Junior and Senior High drama students.
“The Last of the Dragons,” written by Kristen Walter, and “The Last of the Dragons: A New Hope,” written by Smithton High School English teacher and drama director Elizabeth Carver and her husband Tim, is a presentation of two one-act plays. It will feature 12 students under the direction of Carver.
The second play or sequel “The Last of the Dragons: A New Hope,” was written with the students in mind. The first play called for six actors, but Carver said the auditions exceeded that number. So her husband suggested they write the sequel.
“We picked the first, because we thought we wanted a smaller play,” Carver said. “Then a bunch of kids tried out and I realized there were more than six who were really responsible kids. I thought well, I’d hate for them not to be in it.
“My husband said ‘I feel like this play could have a second part, I feel like there needs to be more to it,’” she added.
They decided to write a second play and tailor it to the students who tried out for the first production.
“I was thinking of some of the students when I wrote it,” Carver said. “So that’s kind of cool that they fit the part.”
The play, a comedy, has a fairy tale quality to it and is written for children.
“It’s especially good for kids to watch,” Carver noted.
Emily Clark, a junior, will portray the dragon in the play. Smithton senior Thomas Evans will play the king while Rebecca White, also a senior and the Drama Club president, will act as the princess.
Evans, who has been acting in the school’s plays for four years, said he plans to continue his theatre education at State Fair Community College.
“I started as a freshman in the ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,’” he said. “I double-roled in that, I was Father Christmas and Aslan (the lion).”
He added that what drew him to drama is former Smithton High School Drama Director Chris Clark. Evans said Clark taught him a lot and he was excited to be part of the “Narnia” cast, which Clark was directing.
White also plans to further her theatre education at SFCC.
“I actually came from Otterville,” White said. “My freshman year was my first year here. We didn’t have a drama program there, so it was really exciting to get to come here and act, because it’s something I’ve always thought was interesting.
“My freshman year we did ‘Narnia,’” she added. “That was the first play I’d ever done. It was really exciting, I was Susan. It was fun to be with all the people and all my friends getting to act and going out there to express myself.”
White said they were having difficulty deciding which play to perform for this spring.
“Me and Mrs. Carver were going back and forth … and somehow we came up with this one,” she said. “It’s a kid’s play and it’s super, super fun. I knew we had to do it.”
White wants to attend SFCC when she graduates and work backstage in the theatre department.
“It’s small theatre, but there is more competition than obviously here,” she noted. “So, I thought maybe I’d start off backstage and see where it goes from there.”
Emily Clark, who is usually the stage manager, said she is enjoying her part as the dragon in the fairy tale comedy.
“I like how sassy I am in the first act,” she said.
She added that she enjoys acting because she can put everything else aside.
“… We can just be our characters,” she said. “It’s like another life.”
She described her character as ornery because it believes it’s the last dragon in the world.
Carver said the dragon is actually a “good” dragon who finds itself in a dilemma.
“They think that the dragon is going to eat humans and has to be vanquished, that’s the tradition,” Carver said. “But, in fact the dragon doesn’t want to fight … because it’s actually tame. So, they make friends with the dragon.”
The crux of the story is when the dragon tells them its the only one left of its kind.
“So they say ‘we don’t want to kill the last dragon,’” Carver added. “That’s where my husband said ‘how does she know she’s the last dragon, maybe there’s actually more dragons.’ That’s what the second (play) is about. They are going on a quest.”
Carver said the first play is based off a short story by Edith Nesbit called “The Last of the Dragons.”
“I skimmed over it and some of the lines are very, very close to the original,” she said. “I think it’s kind of neat this play is based on this story, and then our our play is based on the first play.”
Carver said she’s enjoyed working on the production especially since she and her husband wrote the sequel.
“I hope it goes well,” she added. “It’s the first thing that we’ve worked on together, and finished, and it’s being performed. I’m excited about that.”
“The Last of the Dragons” and the “The Last of the Dragons: A New Hope” will be performed at 7 p.m. today and Saturday on the stage of the old gym at Smithton High School. Admission for adults is $5 and $3 for students and children.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.