DRAGON

The play

 

‘Dragon’ was written by Evgeny Schwartz and translated into English by Yuri Machkasov. The play is set in a small town that has been under the rule of a despotic dragon for several hundred years. The townspeople have become accustomed to the dragon and having worked out an arrangement with him, he keeps a relatively calm watch over them. When a stranger arrives in the town he is shocked to see the peoples’ calm acceptance of totalitarianism. He challenges the dragon to a duel…

 

The playwright

 

Evgeny Schwartz was one of the most original figures in 20th Century Russian Theatre. His best plays, "The Naked King" (1933), "The Shadow" (1940), and especially "The Dragon" (1943), are brilliant, imaginative satires of corruption and tyranny, disguised as fairy tales for adults. Communist critics detected their subversive intent and they were not widely performed in the Soviet Union until the late 1980's. Schwartz came from a middle-class background and gained his first theatrical experience as an actor in the Russian provinces. In post-Civil War Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Schwartz gained a reputation as a raconteur and wit, and was the favorite impromptu entertainer at Maxim Gorky's House of Artists, a gathering place for the leading creative figures in the city. He started writing children's stories and puppet shows in 1925 and stuck to these politically "safe" genres throughout his career, sprinkling his work with occasional hints of dissent. Schwartz also wrote screenplays, the most famous of which was for "Don Quixote" (1956), a film that was well-received in the West. His Collected Plays were published (in a limited edition) in 1960. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 

 

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