Dragon of Our Dreams

Dragon of Our Dreams - Development Workshop

Hua Hua Zhang / Visual Expressions through a Workshop Grant provided by the Jim Henson Foundation
March - September, 2023

Dragon of Our Dreams was originally a very different show. First conceived as "The Mystery of the Dragon," it was to include three or four separate pieces each telling a unique story about the mythical Chinese dragon. Each piece would be told with a different style of puppetry, and it would be performed in an immersive installation surrounding the audience. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this design had to be put on hold.

Then, over the course of the quarantine months, the idea began to evolve. In response to a vivid dream, the concept shifted to the journey of one particular boy as he makes discoveries about how to accept and love himself for his differences, and as he learns that by working together we can overcome the evils of the world. That prejudice and hatred cannot beat love and cooperation. That we are all children of the dragon, and we can combine our strengths to live in happiness and peace.

In 2023 Visual Expressions utilized a Workshop grant by the Jim Henson Foundation to create a limited version of this new show. Over several months, Hua Hua designed and built puppets of the boy, the horned villagers, the demon king, and others, and worked with Technical Director Adam Danoff, to design and record moving shadow backgrounds in the style of Chinese ink paintings which would be projected behind the live performers. Hua Hua also met and collaborated with musicians Gamin Kang and Satoshi Takeishi to record original music tracks for the show.

In August, they were joined by two additional puppet performers and began to rehearse important scenes that they would bring to life for the workshop. Then, in September, they recorded these scenes and edited them into a video presentation (linked below).

Hua Hua and the entire team look forward to continuing development of this show, and hope to expand it to include additional scenes, live musicians interacting with the puppet characters, and additional uses of projections and live video to realize the full length story.

Hua Hua Zhang - Artistic Director, Puppet & Scenery Design & Builder
Adam Danoff - Technical Design and Implementation
Satoshi Takeishi - Additional Music
Michael Cocchiarale - Co-writer
Hua Hua Zhang, Adam Danoff, Travis Daniel Draper and James Ofalt - Performers


Photos by Hua Hua Zhang and Adam Danoff

Boy cropped