Performances of this summer’s theatrical production by the Lyric Performing Arts Company will be held this week at the Howard Payne University Theatre.
The show, “Nine Dragons” by George Herman, will be offered a total of six times — three shows on Friday, two shows on Saturday and one show next Sunday, June 29. Hours will be 10 a.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“Nine Dragons” is a fable set deep within a great mountain on a remote island where the last nine dragons in the world live, Nicholas Ewen, assistant professor of theater at Howard Payne, said. When conflict erupts between the island’s two human cultures, the oldest and wisest dragon reveals a solution that prevents a war from taking place. The allegory fuses Chinese and Polynesian myth and imagery, and is a colorfully humorous and meaningful exploration of human nature and conflict resolution.
“It’s considered children’s theater, but it’s a great family show,” Ewen said. “With the different times it will be performed, everyone should be able to see it.” The program lasts about 45 minutes, he said.
The play won Ayling Foundation Humanities Award and the University of Hawaii Kuma Kahua (New Stages) Award, both in 1978. “Nine Dragons” later became an illustrated children’s book published by Tuttle of Boston.
Herman, whose other plays include “The Hidden Place,” is the recipient of 36 awards for his writing. He is the author of “A Company of Wayward Saints,” which won a McKnight Foundation Humanities Award in 1964, and is still in print and widely produced. In 1983 the Hawaii State House of Representatives honored him for his 16 years in the islands as "a skillful director, actor, playwright and a perceptive, candid drama critic.”
His first novel, written at 65, was a national finalist in the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program. Herman now lives in Portland, Ore.