Triune Films * The Naked Emperor * An Ordinary Miracle * Bogus * The Dragon * Something Special * Motley Tales


by Michael Witta

A tragicomical tale about the fatal relationship between people and their leaders


I. The Rotten Town

Our story takes place in an average town, like so many others, located just around the corner from yours. The Dragon is the "Glorious Leader" of the town. He combines both the traditional characteristics of the nightmarish multi-headed, fire-breathing creature of legend and an assortment of ugly human traits. Moreover, this Dragon can easily assume human form -- when doing so helps him to maintain his tight grip over his subjects. His oppressive power over the town knows no bounds. And he has thus far exercised his tyrannical rule without any challenge. Every year the Dragon picks up the town’s most beautiful girl as his trophy bride. None of them has ever returned from his cave, and some townspeople whisper that the girls die there from disgust.

A majority of the townspeople don’t even entertain the idea of confronting the Dragon, let alone getting rid of him, self-servingly believing that the Dragon is too powerful and ruthless to mess with, as he has demonstrated time and again. Moreover, they rationalize their plight by professing that as long as they have their own powerful Dragon, no other will dare to touch them (or, at any rate, they’ll make the best of the Dragon they have). Many, including the town's media, praise the "might," "wisdom," and "fairness" of the Glorious Leader. The town's Mayor, a corrupt and scheming bureaucrat, is but the Dragon's eager lackey, having an exceptional gift for guessing (by and large correctly) the Dragon's slightest whims -- and efficiently carrying them out.

Among the townspeople are a high-spirited young maiden Elsa (a damsel in distress), and her father Charlemagne, the town's Official Public-Record Keeper. Charlemagne has a good heart but he is torn apart by his sense of honour and love for Elsa on the one hand and the fear of the Dragon on the other. Elsa is engaged to her childhood friend Henry, the Mayor's son and the Dragon's assistant. But this year, the Dragon chooses Elsa as his bride and promotes Henry to the position of his press-secretary.

Lancelot is a knight-errant, a professional hero, and a distant relative of St. George, the legendary Dragon-Slayer. He aspires to save Elsa and liberate the townspeople from the yoke of the Dragon’s tyranny. He realizes that the fear of the Dragon has warped the minds of the townspeople so grotesquely that the only way to save them from themselves is to slay the Dragon and "right wrongs." Fearlessly, Lancelot challenges the Dragon to a battle.

First, the Dragon tries to evade the battle, for Lancelot's heroic reputation and famous lineage (particularly that relating to St. George the Dragon-Slayer) makes the Dragon apprehensive and cautious. Instead, he uses his human forms (the body and three different heads) to try first to convince, then to bribe, and finally to frighten Lancelot. When all that fails, the Dragon decides to kill Lancelot on the spot during their last encounter. But Charlemagne who is present (as are his daughter Elsa and the Cat) overcomes his fear and tells the Dragon that pursuant to Article Seven of the Dragonian Laws and Regulations, signed by the Glorious Leader himself, he as the Official Public-Record Keeper has a duty to maintain full and accurate records of what has happened. Should the Dragon dodge the battle by prematurely killing Lancelot, the whole world shall know that the Dragon is a coward. Enraged, the Dragon is determined to incinerate everyone present, and as he is about to do so, the Cat jumps out from the windowsill to disappear into the bushes -- but not before hissing back at the Dragon that all of the Cat's thirty-nine girlfriends and ninety-six kittens will tell “everybody everything.” Frustrated, the Dragon has no choice but to accept, grudgingly, Lancelot’s challenge. He orders the Mayor to arm Lancelot.

Highly skilled in getting the real meaning of the Dragon’s messages and requests, the Mayor arranges a public presentation of Lancelot's armaments: a barber’s brass bowl for a helmet, a brass tray for a shield, and a long wooden stick for a lance. Adding insult to injury, the Mayor presents Lancelot with a donkey saddled with a piece of an old rug, informing him that all the town's horses are "unfortunately" sick with mad-cow disease.

Humiliated, but not dispirited, Lancelot returns to Charlemagne and Elsa’s house for the last supper before the next day’s fight. The mood is gloomy: no one but Lancelot believes that he has a chance against the Dragon. Suddenly the Cat jumps on the windowsill, wearing a hat. Everybody bursts into laughter, but the Cat brushes off their reaction and tells them that any human putting the hat on will become invisible. The Cat explains that a famous and jealous hat-maker made this hat for his beautiful wife but the lovely lady refused to be invisible and gave the hat to the Cat as a token of her friendship and a sign of her sympathy for the cats' struggle against abusive dogs. Elsa gives Lancelot a knife, which the Dragon forced her to take, ordering her to kill Lancelot in exchange for her freedom.

Next morning, while Lancelot is still in the house, the Cat teases the Donkey, who dreams of being a horse. The Cat playfully jumps on the Donkey’s back, but the rug-saddle suddenly begins to rise. Scared, the Cat struggles to stay on top of the rising rug, and after a hilarious balancing act, including desperate but futile attempts to defy gravity, manages to land safely on the Donkey’s back. Lancelot, wearing the barber’s bowl on his head and the tray on his shoulder and armed with the wooden stick and the knife comes out of the house. He says goodbye to everyone and jumps into the “saddle.” To the Cat’s delight (and Elsa and Charlemagne’s concern) the rug with Lancelot starts to levitate, slowly ascending in the air. The Cat shouts: “The hat, the hat!!" Lancelot nods, puts the hat on and . . . vanishes. We hear only his voice: “Good-bye, my friends . . . see you after the battle.”

II. The Battle

As the townspeople gather at the shore of a lake to witness the battle, the sound of a triple roar comes from far off in the sky. Henry, now in the role as a radio/TV reporter, starts his reportage that will continue throughout the battle. His strong and crude pro-Dragon bias is apparent: he portrays events not as they are but as they should be according to the Dragon's supporters, the “dragonistas.”

The first time the Dragon crosses the sky, he puts on his classic beastly horror-show, amply demonstrating his dreadful "Dragonian" prowess: he has an enormous body armored with sharp bony plates, horrifying paws, and three huge heads, each adorned with a pair of ghastly glittering eyes and gigantic jaws violently emitting flame and smoke. The townspeople dutifully, with the mixture of genuine fear, phony enthusiasm, and hesitant admiration, tell one another how much they love the Dragon and how ready they are to sacrifice their own lives for him. Several men dressed in black mix with the crowd -- watching and listening attentively. The Cat and the Donkey run to take cover under the trees. Sad Charlemagne appears alone; Elsa is locked under house arrest. The townspeople snub Charlemagne, some loudly shaming him for befriending Lancelot.

The Dragon appears in the sky above the lake again. Suddenly his body jerks as if receiving a blow, and one of his heads starts to bleed. The Dragon roars: ”Who dares to strike me?” and the voice answers: ”It’s me, Lancelot.” The fight has begun. We see the Dragon helplessly twisting, spinning, and tumbling as one head after another crashes down into the crowd. Each head begs for help, but nobody will. Early in the fight, all the townspeople (except for a small boy), manipulated by Henry’s phony account of the battle, willfully refuse to see things as they are. But as soon as the Dragon’s heads start to fall, these spiritually crippled opportunists (on the winning side at every moment) cautiously begin to change their reaction and comments. Finally, when the Dragon’s headless body plunges from the sky and hits the ground with a thundering, earsplitting sound, the townspeople erupt in wild celebration, telling one another how much they hated the Dragon and what a “terrible criminal and mass-murderer” he was. Many climb upon his body and jump ecstatically. Others are busy pulling down and defacing the gigantic portrait of the fallen Glorious Leader. Some loudly renounce their membership in the Dragonist Party, the town's one and only political organization. The rest surround Charlemagne and Elsa (who joined her father after being released as the first Dragon's head fell down) cheering them up with devote effusion and great affection. They chant jubilantly: ”Long Live Lancelot, Long Live Lancelot!” But Lancelot is nowhere to be found. As the euphoric, wild celebration continues, Elsa and her father, both distressed, return home.

Night falls and Elsa is in her bed. In her dream she tells Lancelot about her love for him and begs him to come back. She hears his voice telling her that although he killed the Dragon, he has spent all his strength . . . his hands don’t obey him anymore(he can't even take off the hat and as a result continue to be invisible)... his vision is blurred and he's lost almost all of his blood . . . he is dying . . . dying . . . . But he believes that he isn’t dying in vain. He confesses that he loves her . . . . Elsa wakes up jumping in her bed and sees the Cat sitting on the windowsill staring at her. The Cat meows and starts playing the tune “Dream, the impossible dream” on a recorder.

III. One Year Later

In the Town Square there are preparations for a wedding. But this is not Henry’s wedding. Soon after the Dragon’s fall and Lancelot’s disappearance, Henry attempted to renew his romantic relationship with Elsa and tried to explain away his betrayal by claiming that whatever he had done had been his personal sacrifice made out of his love for Elsa and for Elsa’s sake. But Elsa, dismayed by his treachery and lies, angrily rejected him. Now Henry’s father, the buffoonishly pompous and always-scheming Mayor, wants Elsa for himself and coerces her into marrying him. Elected President of the Free Town after his boss’s fall, this Dragon’s successor derives his enormous powers from the same source the Dragon did his -- the desire of the brain-warped “ordinary people” to return to old, more orderly times.

Elsa resists the Mayor, but the townspeople (the "useful idiots" that they are), with the help of Elsa's girlfriends (some cunning, some brainless), once again pressure her to submit "for the common good." Elsa appeals to them, for the last time imploring them to come to their good senses. ”Is it possible that the Dragon didn’t die, but instead turned himself into many people? Is there anyone who will come to my rescue?" she cries. No one will. One small boy tries to help her, but “his mom’s got hold of his hand.”

The Mayor, encouraged by the lack of support for Elsa, declares that the wedding shall proceed and orders the Notary (his son Henry yet again) to ”solemnize the marriage.” Suddenly, the Mayor jerks as if he is hit. We see him jolting and spinning violently, desperately trying to avoid the next blow from an invisible force. Henry and several guests jump to his rescue, but they too receive blows. Very soon they realize that Lancelot has returned. In their typical opportunistic manner (on the winning side every time), they start to confess their sins, blame one another, proclaim their innocence, offer excuses, and beg for forgiveness. Now they all swear their allegiance to Lancelot.

Elsa, disgusted with what she witnesses, tells Lancelot that she loves him now even more and begs him to leave this rotten town with her forever. But Lancelot tells her that by killing the Dragon he has made, as it turns out, only one small step toward liberating the people. “We can’t walk away now,” insists Lancelot. ”We must finish the job: kill the Dragon in each individual heart and mind." "I know," he tells Elsa, "it will be a tedious and laborious work taking a long, long time . . . . But I also know that if we fail, this town’s malignant disease will be spreading like plague, and soon we'll run out of space where decent people can live.”

The small boy asks if it will be painful and Lancelot replies: “Not for you.” One of the townspeople, the Gardener, urges Lancelot to be patient: “Tend us gently; take out the weeds very carefully or you may damage the new roots. People require a very careful treatment . . . .”

The End

Production Notes
This project will have fantastic visuals, almost surrealistic in nature, displaying rich, vivid, imaginative settings, which easily lend themselves to the latest in visual technology. Uniquely colourful characters and distinctive scenery, coupled with original music and songs inimitably integral to the plot, will present virtually limitless opportunities for marketing, cross-promotion, and merchandising.

John Barclay, Producer
Triune Films
111 Wildwood Crescent
Toronto, Ontario M4L 2K9
Tel: 416.686.0467
Fax: 416.686.0468

© Triune Productions Inc. & Michael Witta

Triune Films * The Naked Emperor * An Ordinary Miracle * Bogus * The Dragon * Something Special * Motley Tales