When My Sleeping Dragon Woke
Hop Film Event

When My Sleeping Dragon Woke

with actor Sharon Washington '81 and director Chuck Schultz in person
April 25, 2024

This event occurred as part of the 23/24 Hop Film Event season. This is an archived view.

Actor and playwright Sharon Washington '81 shares the joys and challenges of developing a one-woman play about her life in this moving documentary.

23/24 Hop Film Event

When My Sleeping Dragon Woke Trailer


How do we change our direction to face the unknown? What stimulates us to persevere when everything seems to say stop? Actor and Tony-nominated playwright Sharon Washington '81 (Joker, Michael Clayton) began writing a one-woman play about her fairytale childhood living inside a New York public library, but there was an unforeseen cost—waking the family dragon she thought she'd silenced decades ago. A mix of interviews, animation and verité, the film follows Sharon as she faces the difficulties of creating a play about her life, delving into her upbringing, her relationship with her parents and the process of letting go of the idealized narratives of childhood.

Hop audiences may remember seeing a reading of Sharon Washington's play Feeding the Dragon as part of a New York Theatre Workshop residency in 2015. We are delighted to welcome Sharon back to share more about her play's journey!

D: Chuck Schultz, US, 2023, 1h20m

Discussion follows with Sharon Washington '81, director Chuck Schultz and Prof. Monica Ndounou. 

Programmed in conjunction with Prof. Ndounou's class on "Curating Black Theater". Co-sponsored by the Institute of Black Intellectual and Cultural Life, the Dartmouth Libraries, Women of Dartmouth, the Department of African & African American Studies and the Department of Theater

Learn more:
About the Film
About the play Feeding the Dragon. Copies of the play are available at Still North Books!
Dartmouth Alumni Magazine interview with Sharon Washington '81

Sharon Washington '81 was nominated for a 2023 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical as co-writer of New York, New York. She made her debut as playwright at City Theatre with the world-premiere of her solo play Feeding The Dragon which subsequently played at Hartford Stage and made its Off-Broadway debut at Primary Stages where she was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Lucille Lortel Award and won an Audelco Award. Sharon completed Feeding the Dragon at Dartmouth during her New York Theatre Workshop summer writing residency in 2015, having previously spent several summers participating as an actor. Feeding the Dragon is currently available as an Audible Original and was selected as an Audible Essentials Top 100 pick. It is published by Oberon Books. Sharon is working on a picture book adaptation of her story: The Little Girl Who Lived in the Library for Scholastic. Sharon was the Primary Stages 2017-18 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence.
As an actor, Sharon currently has a recurring role on Power Book III: Raising Kanan as the family matriarch Joyce Thomas. Upcoming film and television appearances include the new film Sing Sing (at the Hop on May 24!) starring Academy Award nominee Colman Domingo, and Joker: Folie À Deux. Other credits: Down With the King, the award-winning short film Birdwatching co-starring Amanda Seyfried, and the Academy-Award winning Joker. She has had recent guest star roles on Bull, Madam Secretary and Blue Bloods.  You may also recognize her voice as the narrator of several documentary series for Animal Planet, Discovery and NOVA. 
On Broadway, Sharon appeared in The Scottsboro Boys musical. Off-Broadway credits include Dot (Vineyard Theater); Wild with Happy (Public Theater/NYSF - Lucille Lortel nomination and Audelco Award; While I Yet Live and String of Pearls (Primary Stages); as well as regional theaters around the country including: Guthrie Theater, Denver Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Rep, and Arena Stage, among others. Sharon holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a BA from Dartmouth College. She currently sits on the boards of The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, Primary Stages, Girl Be Heard and the Theatre Gap Initiative 

ABOUT CHUCK SCHULTZ (DIRECTOR/PRODUCER): When My Sleeping Dragon Woke won Best Feature Documentary Premiere at the Heartland International Film Festival (2022) and was an International Documentary Association's DocuClub series selection (2020). The Last Crop (2016) explores an aging couple's struggle to ensure their farm's future in California's Central Valley. Chuck was co-director/producer of 5 Days in July (2007), a dual-screen projection installation that revisits the 1967 Newark Riots/Rebellion. Exhibitions: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; Debra Willis' 1968: Then Now, New York University Tisch School of the Arts (2008); and the Urban Research Directors Lounge exhibition in Berlin (2010). Director's Choice Black Maria Film Festival (2008) and Jury Award Best Short Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (2009). The Rural Studio (2001), ITVS LiNKS co-production, chronicles architect Samuel Mockbee and his students' work in Alabama's Black Belt, aired on PBS. Exhibition: Whitney Museum of American Art 2002 Biennial and Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (2006). Chuck and director William Garcia's film A Day At A Time won Best Documentary at the Heartland International Film Festival (1993).

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