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Theater

Court players

are supported by the crown. They are usually the best available, but sometimes are the most amenable or diplomatic available. Court plays and players change with kingdom to kingdom and fashion to fashion: in Colend, for example, court plays have run the gamut from strictly flattering to excoriatingly critical of court life. They run through tragedy, drama, romance, action, wit (what we'd call comedy of manners) to satire. Sometimes all those are included in the same play.

Plays go in and out of fashion. Ancient plays get performed in ancient dress and accents, in modern dress, get rewritten and modern jokes inserted into them. Sometimes the old innuendo is kept, the audience expected to know the references. Plays range from bare stage to full-on illusory effects, right up to illusions occurring out in the audience. Plays are on stage, in the round, on grass, on the water, and during some quite innovative times, plays were woven around a court event, when one often did not know who the players were or what they would do--what was real and what wasn't.

Sartor and Colend have had the most influence on plays, not surprisingly. If one can generalize, Sartor has generally preferred plays to be ancient, performed almost as ritual, with an element of dance in the deliberate movement and spacing, the words perfect and often known to the audience. Colend has tended to prefer more verve, wit, with room for the dangers of spontaneity. But there has been a lot of cross-pollination and swapping back and forth of tastes as well as actual plays.

City Playhouses

Supported by the audience. They don't have to please aristocrats, they have to please those who buy tickets. Historically, most satire comes from city players--and what they satirize is court as well as one another. Otherwise, see above for fads, etc.

Traveling players

Have their own repertoire, but they also know what's popular in given areas, and will do age-old plays for various special days, etc. They will also involve local people, either as targets or in the acts, sometimes, if that brings in the crowds. Acrobatics are usually part of a given play, not separate acts.

Traveling players will often involve locals in what amounts to a talent show, or give them small parts, if it seems a popular idea. In short, traveling players are flexible, often making up additions and variations on the fly; court and playhouse players tend to rely more on the written word.

Some of them develop their own plays, seldom written, but evolving over time as they perform them over and over. Most of the time the plays are planned around lots of singing, dancing, and fighting--always big hits with audiences.

These are separate from traveling musicians, who perform music either to be listened to or to be danced to. These tend to be rarer, as most people make their own music. Cities will hire really famous performers, but countryside people tend to rely on local talent. Cheaper, for one thing.

The exception is before the yearly Silver Feather Competition when musicians and singers from all over the world travel to Alsais in Colend for the competition. Groups will earn money for the long trip by performing along the road, though they are not permitted to charge once they reach Alsais. (But housing and food is free for the duration of the competition for all performers.)

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Page last modified on October 25, 2007, at 07:41 PM