Once upon a time there was a boy
named Glaston living in a village in the hills. Glaston loved to read
stories of adventure, but most of all he loved to read about dragons.
His parents and all the neighbors knew he was the village dragon expert.
One day Glastonís father came home very excited, because he had heard
there was a real dragon living in a cave up a nearby hill. Everyone
knows dragons must be slain because, well, obviously they pose a great
danger to humans.
Glaston immediately headed for the
dragonís cave to see for himself. He discovered that the dragon was not
the ferocious fire-breathing monster the villagers feared, but was in
fact a gentle soul who wrote poetry and painted pictures.
The villagers, in the meantime,
learned that St. George, the famous dragon slayer, just happened to be
in the neighborhood, and they recruited him to rid the hills of this
threat to their crops and their lives. Glaston, of course, knew he must
avert this threat to his friend, and convinced St. George to meet the
dragon he was supposed to slay. St. George and the dragon became
Thatís the setup for the wonderful
childrenís play The Reluctant Dragon, adapted for the stage by
Mary Hall Surface from the story by Kenneth Grahame, most famous for
The Wind in the Willows. Now playing at Sutter Street Theatre on
weekend afternoons through March 22, the show, directed by Blake Flores
in his directing debut at Sutter Street, is sure to delight children
from age five to, well, ninety-five.
The star of the show is frequent
Sutter Street performer fourteen-year-old Benjamin Matta as the
adventurous Glaston, whose energetic charm never fades. When St. George
and the dragon agree that they must fight because thatís ďjust what we
do,Ē Glaston is the one who thinks up the way this can happen but still
lead to a happy ending.
The dragon, played by Vanessa
Voetsch in Eileen Beaverís fantastic dragon costume, will win the hearts
of even the youngest members of the audience. John Hopkins as St. George
never seems much of a threat to the dragon, and turns out to be a nice
fellow who doesnít really relish his dragon-slayer reputation. Ryan
Norton as Glastonís father and Lori Ackerman as his mother are
pleasantly bewildered by the whole dragon threat, as are the other
villagers played by Lisa Matta (Benjaminís mom), Ally Dietz, and Jake
Like most childrenís stories, The
Reluctant Dragon has a lesson to be learned by its young audience.
The message is a good one, ďDonít believe the stereotypes people tell
you about who should be your enemy. Get to know for yourself, for even
the most evil-seeming beast might really be a gentle soul who can become
a wonderful friend.Ē But this moral is not preached in an obvious way,
itís just embedded in a delightful story kids are sure to enjoy. Bring
the whole family to Sutter Streetís The Reluctant Dragon for an
afternoon of fun.