“St. George and the Dragon” 


 In December of 2004 Syracuse Branch members were persuaded by the  promise of great fun at no expense to vary their traditional Christmas Luncheon  with a Medieval Wassail Party featuring a Mummer’s Play “St. George and the  Dragon.”  

 On the appointed day, the attendees, not knowing quite what to expect, gathered  as usual in the Library at the Century Club, there to enjoy a Wassail Bowl rather  than the usual cocktails. From time to time an amply proportioned Surveyor of  Ceremonies would raise his glass aloft, warble a few bars of “Here We Go A Caroling Among the Fields so Green,” and shout “Wassail !” Timidly at first, but  with increasing enthusiasm as the procedure was repeated several times, the guests  replied “Wassail.”  

 In due course the guests moved to the dining room whereto, announced by an  appropriate fanfare on the piano and a recorded chorus singing “The Boar’s Head  Carol,” the Surveyor of Ceremonies led a procession of noble ladies arrayed in  period costumes carrying a Yule Candle, a Plum Pudding, a Boar’s Head, and a  Peacock, the latter two understandably made of papier-mache.   The Surveyor of Ceremonies bellowed “May the Feast begin?” and was told  firmly “No, not until First Foot crosses the Christmas Threshold,” whereupon the  Jester cavorted several times around and over a green strip of crepe paper which  had been placed on the floor and proceeded to rather ostentatiously collect a coin  from each person at the Head Table. The Surveyor queried again impatiently  “May the Feast begin?” This time the answer was affirmative and the Jester went  around to the other tables collecting coins.  

 There then followed a veritable Feast of Roast Prime Rib of Beef au jus.   During dessert the actors exited to don their costumes and after another  medieval sounding fanfare the Jester read aloud the Introduction to the Play. The  actors, fortified by Wassail and the knowledge that soon it all would be over,  struggled valiantly to read their lines, scripts and swords in hand. in a very limited  space which caused some confusion to an audience already somewhat perplexed  by George’s thick Southern accent. (Note: A subsequent production had a George  with a bona fide British accent but who unfortunately skipped a few lines and  while exulting in his victory, had to be reminded by the Dragon that he hadn’t  actually killed him yet.].  

 Eventually, however, the Dragon was dutifully slain and expired in great agony,  Soldan Bluster, the villainous villain, was vanquished, the beautiful Princess was  rescued , and the guests sang Christmas Carols with great gusto. All the coins  dropped into the Jester”s pail went to the Scholarship Fund. 

 For the next several years the Luncheon was sold out. However, St. George  eventually ran out of villains and dragons to defeat and had to be replaced by  another dastardly evildoer, Guy Fawkes, but that is another story. . .