Sharon Washington’s autobiographical one-woman play, Feeding the Dragon, delighted audiences off-Broadway and is now available exclusively on Audible. The one-act play invites listeners into Sharon’s unorthodox childhood, growing up in an apartment on the top floor of the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, where her father served as the building’s custodian. A love of literature and boundless imagination helped the playwright as a young woman persevere over dragons of all forms.
Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington. Also narrated by Sharon Washington. Published by Audible Studios, June 2018. 1 hour and 17 mins long. Part of my Non-fiction November 2018.
Ms. Washington had a childhood that any lover of books would envy. She lived in an apartment on the top floor of a library. After hours, when her father got to work cleaning the empty library, she would go down to the other floors and read as much as she wanted, whatever she wanted. She loved to read and had a very active, playful imagination. Man, I’ve often dreamed of being able to live in a big library like that.
We see a very small slice of life (just a couple of years really) of the Washington family. While you see a whimsical side from Sharon, who was a small child at the time, you see hints of the struggles her parents had behind the closed doors. Feeding the Dragon touches on racism of the 70s and the pressures of a difficult job taking care of the library.
Performed by the author is always a nice treat. I mean, in theory, nobody should be able to read the book better then that of the author! Sharon did a great job. She really brought the world of her childhood to life. She was also pretty amazing with accents. Along with her narration, sometimes music would be played. Nothing too fancy or elaborate. It was just a brief sprinkle of notes to set the stage for a fairy tale to begin.
While I really enjoyed the story and the performance, I was just disappointed by how short it was. Even though Ms. Washington is very open about what was going on, it felt like we only just barely scratch the surface of the messages she is trying to deliver. It would have been nice to have a little bit more depth, a little bit more of her exploring what her family was going through instead of just a light tease of information.
Feeding the Dragon was a nice story of a childhood spent in a library. It was a pretty quick read, and while entertaining, it was a little bit too short. It was performed by the author who did a superb job.