Morgan and Merlin: Swords, Sorcery, and How to be a Hero (2018)
Written by LARAMIE DEAN
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Told in under 55 minutes, this magical, mystical tale whisks us to another place and time where knights and dragons, kings and wizards rub elbows with a modern-day sorceress with a fantastic surprise up her bejeweled sleeve.
To learn more about this tour, our acting workshops, and answers to frequently asked questions, please review these promotional and educational materials:
Schedule a Performance
Our 2018 tour runs from September 4 through November 16. The cost this year is $550, which includes the 55-minute performance and one workshop. Additional workshops are $75 each. As always, we do not want money to be an issue and will do our best to accommodate everyone interested in this theatrical and educational opportunity.
As we intend to book this tour by the end of May 2018, we appreciate early performance reservations.
Please call soon to get the best dates for your venue.
When I was a child, growing up on a farm in Eastern Montana, my mother decided to be a lawyer. It wasn’t common, and it certainly wasn’t easy. She began by taking what were called “telecom” classes at the time, the technological ancestor to today’s online classes: several times a week she left the farm to visit the basement of the sheriff’s office in Wolf Point, there to attend her classes, listening to lectures over a kind of radio and answering questions from her professors. Occasionally there were video cassettes to watch. It seems charmingly dated now, but at the time I was in awe: my mother was taking huge strides toward something which seemed dauntingly distant, but a worthwhile prize in the end.
One of her courses that wasn’t directly related to the practice of law involved the study of Arthurian legend. I remember watching The Sword in the Stone with her, Disney’s amusing take on T. H. White’s The Once and Future King; I can recall some of the books she read: The White, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Mists of Avalon, and more. (She kept them, incidentally, and let me borrow several of them while I worked on this play; thanks, Mom!) I loved the stories too, of swords and sorcery, magic, the Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur and his beloved Guinevere…but I was most taken with the witch Morgan, or, as my mother explained, Morgana, or Morgeuse, or Morgaine. The woman, it seemed, had a thousand names.
And several faces. In some legends Morgan is a healer, a helper, someone to be trusted; however, as the centuries passed and the stories changed, as stories will, Morgan began a sinister transition. She became wily and wicked, Arthur’s half-sister, but consumed with jealousy at the success of her famous sibling. In many of the stories Morgan uses her magic to attempt to destroy King Arthur, or at least cause him grief. She can transform herself into animals; she can cause people to fall in love; she can poison and destroy. She seems, in many of the tales, unrepentantly evil.
I remain fascinated. As I pondered how to attack this play, I knew that I wanted Morgan to be the focus. I wondered what happened to her after Arthur was struck a deadly blow by Mordred, usurper of the crown, and taken away to the mystical isle of Avalon, there to heal and return one day when the world really needed him. Well, I wondered rhetorically, couldn’t the world use a hero right about now? And what has Morgan been up to, anyway?
I considered themes of vengeance and redemption: what if, I asked myself, what if Morgan has survived all this time, given up her powers, and gone off to try to be happy? And what if she doesn’t really, in her heart of hearts, believe that she deserves happiness? Would redemption for a wicked creature truly be possible?
The play will explore those questions. And it also includes Merlin the wizard, advisor to young King Arthur, because Morgan needs a foil, and Merlin, though mysterious, is also charming, witty, urbane…and has his own dark side. He understands magic, its uses as well as its drawbacks. So he seemed the perfect character to lead Morgan into battle against–what else?–a re- breathing dragon. The stakes are high, as they should be in a tale of swords and sorcery. But they are, as my own mother learned long ago, worth it, and should be familiar to her as well: the story of a woman who takes huge strides towards something dauntingly difficult, but a worthwhile prize in the end. Please enjoy.
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Laramie Dean is a Montana native, born and raised on a ranch in northeastern Montana. His move to Missoula in high school allowed him to take drama classes at Hellgate High School, opening up an entire theatrical world of possibilities. Laramie earned his BFA in acting at the University of Montana before moving across the country to work on his PhD in playwriting at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Since then, he has performed, written, and directed numerous plays, including Othernatural, a one-man show, which was performed at Stage Left’s Left Out Festival in New York City and again at Missoula’s own Crystal Theatre. Laramie is currently enjoying his dream job as the Drama Director right back at Hellgate High School, where he has recently written and directed adaptations of The Wizard of Oz and Frankenstein, which will be published by Theatrefolk and available for performance by schools soon. He is thrilled to be writing for the Rep again, as he had so much fun with the one in 2014, Once Upon a Time in Ancient Greece: Stheno’s Descent to the Underworld, and in 2016, Brontë to the Future!