At Artswest in the West Seattle Junction on the night of August 5th, Here There Be Dragons lit up the stage. The small theatre was the perfect setting for actor and writer’s, Felicia Loud, take on her one-woman show. The intimate space allowed the piece to feel like a conversation with an old friend.
One could tell that’s exactly what Loud wanted as she opened the show with “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire and worked not only the stage, but the perimeter around it encouraging audience participation . Not a whole lot happened in the 90-minute-no-intermission-show and while that might seem like an insult for more traditional shows that certainly isn’t the case here. Though not much happens and there was virtually no set—just a table and a few instruments—the show was never boring. Though even the word “show” doesn’t feel quite right as it was more of a soul and hip-hop inspired seminar.
In what felt like a memoir come to life action and plot was replaced with music and anecdotes of growing up as a black girl in a post-assassinated-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Seattle. Loud explored the ideas of community, self-love, romantic love, and motherhood all without ever boring the audience. Some topics could have benefited from some expansion because they were just that interesting. The problem with touching on a bit of everything the way Loud does is that nothing is explored to its full potential. But truly this is a minor quibble.
A significant portion of the show’s entertainment factor can be contributed to the musical numbers. Loud’s singing voice was the true star of the show eliciting goosebumps from the audience. But the chemistry that her and her band members, Greg fields and Cydney Johnson, had was delightful to watch.
In a Seattle that is swiftly losing its black community and stories Here There Be Dragons is one that should be seen before it finishes it run.
Here There Be Dragons, by Felicia Loud. Artswest 4711 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116. Box Office: (206) 938-0339. Running until August 14th at 3pm. Tickets*: https://artswest.secure.force.com/ticket#/ For more information visit: https://www.artswest.org/theatre-plays/here-there-be-dragons/
*Tickets can also be bought to stream a recorded version of the show