Don’t try to look like a dragon

By Limor Shiponi

Storytellers telling stories about dragons and other impressive creatures try very often to look like them:

… and suddenly (freeze and stare over the audience with horror) she saw a huge creature (accompany text with elevating eyesight) standing just in front of her, not far down the road (freeze struck with troubled look). It had a huge head (show how huge and illustrate with a huge voice), gigantic ears (wave your big-big ears), tremendous eyes (stretch your eyes wide open and emphasize two enormous eyes with your hands) and dark nostrils, wide as a cooking-pan each (go on, demonstrate this too) with terrible flames of fire coming out (reach as far as you can go with frightening fire-like hand movements).

Panting? For a good reason, but if you try this in front of a mirror you’ll realize you don’t look like a dragon. You do look rather ridiculous. If you’re trying to make a bunch of kids laugh – you’re on the right track. If you want to make them see the dragon, try this:

Show them the reaction, not the source. Let them see the character that meets the dragon, not the dragon itself. Watching the impression build-up frees the listener’s imagination to create his or her own dragon and it will be exactly the right one.

If you’re working with kids, always make sure they can still notice a hint of a wink in your eyes. You don’t really want to handle a room full of shocked children, do you? (not to mention their hyper-protective parents…)

4 thoughts on “Don’t try to look like a dragon”

  1. Good advice. I remember Dan Keding demonstrating this in a workshop. He could demonstrate the huge, frightening villain reaching out his hand. My hand could not look threatening, but by cowering a bit, I could show the threat by my reaction. Neither of us could be a dragon.

    1. And I suspect we wouldn’t want to be one either. Mainly because we have no idea about what it feels like.
      Thanks Mary!

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