Hana Fukui

Theatre Review#3: Saint George and the Dragon

This is a metaphorical stage of a Folktale st George and Dragon. Joined to one of National theatre’s workshop hosted by its assistant director, I looked into how the well-known epic became a performance.

The plot is composed of three scenes. First, it simply showed standard St.George’s story, then setting in early-modern times, showed the same story. The final part is an experimental scene to let St.George live in today’s society. During the rehearsal process, its director and the performers re-thinked of what has been the hero for the British people.

Therefore, we just see the normal St. George story in the first part. At the beginning, he tries to be trusted by people and then fights with Dragon. At the climax, people somehow lose the unity, which is not a physical battle but the hardest challenge for St.George. However, he and the citizen themselves all imagine the people’s future together, and this let them unite again.

The second scene is set hundred years after the first scene. George is confused and surprised at the changes of the world and people who look stranger but at the same time, seem to be people he met in the first scene. Every single actor plays different roles with the first scene’s role, but they have the same relationship with George as the first role had.

This is a metaphor of traditional relationship between British people and their ‘epic hero’, St, George. The story has historically taken over and over from parents to child, and he is everyone’s hero.

The storyline proceeds in the same way with the first scene. And the story ended up concluding it with people’s recover of their unity by imaging their future.

The significance of this play might be everything happens in the third part which is set in today’s society. Through George’s surprisingness at people, we can find out how radical the modernization has been. Elsa who had been safeguarded by George in the first two scenes, rejects George to say she is busy with work.

This time, George finally fails to get people’s trust. The society of modern times cannot accept his armor, encouragement to fight to Dragon all together and the hero George himself.

Unfortunately, it is easy to understand the public opinion for almost all audience since this scene depicts our society. Eventually, people and George end up starting fighting with each other.
Many people might look this scene as unexpected unfolding of the story. For me, the fact that our forever-hero and we have a war was too hard and shocking to witness. When many of the audience turned away their eyes from the sacred battle, the hero cuts someone.
And someone kills the hero…

It can be said to be a moment the play reaches a peak as metaphorical theatre.

Someone kills the hero…
This is the end of the story.
How does someone interpret this ending?
Sometimes, there is a play that asks a very difficult question to answer and the process of reflection is a process of appreciation and understanding of the story.

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