Fred the Dragon (Grayce Houle) talks to Charity (Maia Brewer) about how he’s not afraid of the town’s people and he’d rather eat snacks and write poetry in “The Reluctant Dragon.” Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Fred the Dragon (Grayce Houle) talks to Charity (Maia Brewer) about how he’s not afraid of the town’s people and he’d rather eat snacks and write poetry in “The Reluctant Dragon.” Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Young actors take on ‘The Reluctant Dragon’

Children’s play highlights differences can be strengths

SEQUIM — Fred stands out in Veesaldorf. He loves sweets, poetry and he’s a giant green dragon.

But with the help of Charity, Fred ushers in a new era of acceptance in their tiny village.

The slapstick comedy “The Reluctant Dragon” is Olympic Theatre Arts’ fifth Children’s Theater program. Actors believe it bridges comedy and its core messages well.

“It’s hilarious,” said 15-year-old Kenzie Camp, who plays Mayor Leech. “[People] will laugh. It’s just fun.”

Shows begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24 and 30-31; 2 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 25, Sept. 1, at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $13 for OTA members and $12 for students with school identification card. They are available at the box office from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the door or online at www.Olympic TheatreArts.org.

A special “Pay-what-you-will show” runs at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29.

The Aug. 25 show features a “Talkback” session where audiences can stay after the performance and talk to the cast.

This summer’s show features 15 actors from 7 to 16 years old. Camp said show director Bonne Smith helps the young ensemble flourish onstage.

“It adds a depth of hilarity that wouldn’t work if it was all older kids,” she said.

Camp said there are multiple things viewers can take away from the play: that friends are important, and that being different isn’t bad.

“There’s a lot to it,” she said. “Just because you look like you have power doesn’t mean you do. ‘Fake it till you make it’ doesn’t work.”

The soon-to-be 11th grader at Sequim High School said the mayor’s role is the first in which she feels she has a distinct voice.

“I feel like she’s the black sheep,” Camp said.

Camp has been involved in OTA’s Children’s Theater since 2015 and feels it is more accepting of people of all types.

She didn’t have a set role in mind for the play, but said she trusts Smith to choose well for her.

“I get attached to a role after I’m cast,” Camp said.

Eight-year-old Roland Mabrey, a soon-to-be a third grader at Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles, said he likes the different facets of acting and behind-the-scenes.

“I have four lines and I start a dance number,” he said.

Mabrey is head of the militia against the dragon, but finds his militia members are more ridiculous than anything.

“It’s super funny and the characters are super cool,” he said.

For the upcoming show, Mabrey said, “I’m 90 percent excited and 10 percent nervous.”

Smith said the play is placed in the Pacific Northwest and uses native plants and trees for backdrop, including Sweet Gale.

She said while reading a Peninsula College textbook “Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast,” she discovered that under Sweet Gale it alludes that it was used for some purpose by Sasquatches.

“If it can have Sasquatches, it can have dragons,” Smith said.

Cast members include Grayce Houle as Fred the Dragon, Maia Brewer as Charity, Camp as Mayor Leech, Indi Mixon as Jenkins, Maddie Adams as Sam, Addison Drew as Sam, Ashton Drew as Father, Emily McAliley as Mother, Gavin De Angelo as Squire, Hunter Halverson as Knight, Sadie Canty as Scoop, Mabrey as Head of Militia, and Alester Knapp, Owen De Angelo and Banyon Nelson as militia members.

For more information, call 360-683-7326.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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