RESEARCH: The designation of “Here be dragons” on old maps to indicate the unknown
A dragon dwelling in the decommissioned boiler room of the Georgetown Steam Plant in our 2016 production of WE REMAIN PREPAREDscreen-shot-2017-02-24-at-7-09-17-pm

The dragon, a mystical creature seen in literature and fairy tales, made it’s first appearance on maps in the early 1500s. This symbolized a dangerous or unknown area for travelers to avoid when on the seas. The old Latin phrase “HC SVNT DRACONES” translates to “Here be dragons” often accompanied these illustrations. While we see other creatures on maps, such s basilisks and cynocephaly, dragons were specifically used to warn sailors voyaging out into the sea. This concept of the unknown area marked by a dragon triggered the inspiration for the character of Kimmel’s relationship to the boiler room and the fears, doubts, and nightmares contained therein.

WE REMAIN PREPARED tracked the slow atrophy of a building that was once the epicenter of efficiency for the city of Seattle. Within the plant, the boiler room was the heart, but in WE REMAIN PREPARED, the boilers are cold, the doors are shut, and the hum has gone eerily silent. It begins to represent the terror of their insignificance. Kimmel, the building’s more diligent caretaker begins scrawling a dragon on his ground plans, folding them into little origami beasts, and allowing his fears to manifest as a real dragon stowing away in the room beyond that red door.  In the final scene of the play, Kimmel finally comes face to face with his fears and wakes the giant dragon, made by our exceptional collaborator, Lacy Campbell.