Modern Day Dragon Slaying

What young boy has not dreamed of slaying dragons? I certainly did. What romance.

What young girl has not played princess?

I have a four year old at home and absolutely marvel at how obsessed she is with princesses and being “dressed as one”. This is not something we encouraged. She gravitated towards it herself.

Who does not love a rich tale told in Arthurian, dragon-laden England of old?

Who does not love “The Princess Bride”?

According to mythologist Joseph Campbell, the dragon sits on a grand mountain of gold and hoards all of the virgins and gold of the world, neither of which it can use.

Our dragon here is a symbol, in our western cultures, of the bound ego.

It is the job of the hero to slay the dragon.

Upon every scale of the dragon, are written the words “Thou Shalt”, meaning, “You should”. This is the voice of our social imprinting. It embodies the voice of our parents, community, friends, teachers and everyone else in our lives that has an idea about how we “should” be living our lives. “You know, you should really try this…”, the well-meaning uncle says.

How many times do you hear the following words together: “You should…”? Start to pay attention. It will likely astound you.

It is the job of the hero to kill this voice of “You Should”.

What happens when the hero kills that voice? Well, they are then acting out of their own sense of self, out of their own desire, out of their own instinct, impulses and imagination. They discover their individuality and accept it. Pow.

What happens when we slay our egos? Well, if you get there, let me know. I am told that what occurs, is that our focus goes outward and away from ourselves. Makes sense, right?

Dragon slaying is about identifying, personally and completely, with what you are. Each  of us asks ourselves, “Who am I”? Dragon slaying is a coming to terms with what that is.

In the words of Hamlet’s Polonius, “To thine own self, be true”.

TITAN is dedicated to encouraging and facilitating our student artists’ process towards discovering their personal voice and individual aesthetic. We are dedicated to developing independent theatre makers.

Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN Teaterakademi)


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