Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like

Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) takes you on a fantastical journey to a long ago land where dragons still roam. This world premiere adaptation by Seattle playwright Bret Fetzer is based on the well-known book by Jay Williams. Directed by SCT Artistic Associate Rita Giomi with wonderful puppets created by designer Tristan M.T. Dalley, this exciting new work poses the question, “Would you know a dragon if you saw one?”

Through the inspired art of puppetry, we visit the ancient Chinese city of Wu as the young orphan boy, Han, longs for a different life - sweeping the gates of the city was not what he desired. When the marauding Wild Horsemen come to attack the city, the bumbling Mandarin decrees that all inhabitants should pray to the Great Cloud Dragon for help. After a hermit is ridiculed for announcing herself the dragon, Han shows generosity that touches the hermit’s heart and allows her to reveal her true Dragon form.  

  “This wonderful tale of a little boy who helps a city has a delightful touch of Chinese culture and a fabulously funny flair,” said SCT’s Artistic Director Linda Hartzell. “The use of puppetry allows us to keep the grand scale of the story while allowing your imaginations to soar with the Dragon.”

Long ago and far away, the orphan boy Han was all alone in the world, all alone except for his pet pig, Ping. The only thing poor Han wanted was a place to belong. His job, sweeping the gates of the ancient Chinese city of Wu, wasn’t the kind of future he was looking forward to. On one average afternoon, Han was yelled at by a surly Hermit, tricked out of all his possessions (even Ping!) by a wily Merchant, and ridiculed by the Army Captain. When a Monk came bearing news of the Wild Horsemen on their way to attack Wu, Han rushed him to the palace. This marauding tribe was bent on forcing the entire citizenry to eat beetles and worms. Disgusting!

The bumbling Mandarin, ruler of Wu, decreed that all the people should pray to the Great Cloud Dragon for help. When the Hermit announced that she was, in fact, the Dragon herself, she was met with disbelief and ridicule. The Mandarin didn’t have time for a silly lady’s rantings. Han, always one to be polite, invited the Hermit back to his ramshackle hut to weather the attack. Han gave the Hermit all his meager food and water, which touched her heart. Due to Han’s, and Ping’s, generosity of spirit, the Hermit saved the city from the Wild Horsemen and revealed her true Dragon form. And then Han knew the future he wanted for himself—being a dragon.

Through the fantastical world of puppetry, we take a delightful journey to ancient China where two people who have been cast aside find each other and save the day.

The cast for Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like includes Khanh Doan as Han with Sarah Harlett as Hermit/Servant, Timothy Hyland as Merchant/Wild Horseman and Don Darryl Rivera as Army Captain/Mandarin.

The production features directing by Rita Giomi, Scenic and puppet design by Tristan M.T. Dalley,  costume design by Lee Dombroski, lighting design by Michael Wellborn, and sound design by Chris Walker.  Puppet coach is Douglas N. Paasch.

Show Summary

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like


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