Lights, Camera, Action!

Another play is on! You grab your popcorn and head out to the town square where you know the famous town bard of Hardy has come up with a new script. Settling down next to your second cousins, you watch as the performers read out long, eloquent speeches to the crowd’s delight. “This is bound to be a classic,” you say to the chap next to you, before realising that now nobody is catching those escaped sheep.

Yay, the theatre. I’ve thought about how such a thing could exist in a large Ohol city and it seems possible enough. All it needs is a young player with a backpack, a knife and a pencil to start it all off.
A play would realistically be easiest through the reading out of paper scripts, allowing the actors to belt out their lines quickly without needing to memorise them beforehand. Before the performance the bard with the help of an apprentice would set out these pages so as to be easily picked up and then returned to the floor or a box. The actors would need to be old, for reading, and, to save on employment, probably taken from the crowd itself. This means that they may need to be given a quick summary of their roles beforehand, but nothing more is possible usually.
Publicity is also an issue. Doing it in the town centre means that people will drift up to the spectacle as it take place, but warning people beforehand might also help.
However before any of that can happen you need to prepare. A bard will spend most of their time making paper, so their work station will include several bowls, a round stone, and kindling, so as to boil as many shavings as possible for pulp. In addition they’ll need several flat rocks for the spreading of the pulp and sticks for the creation of wood shavings when combined with the knife. The apprentice will probably do most of the gathering while the elder bard begins writing down the scripts and crafting the paper itself.
Each play should be around 8-16 pages long in total, maybe even more lengthy if you’re going for a whole ballad. Make sure you don’t lose them and mark them to show their order and which play they are from. This is not including summary pages of the production. When not in use these pages should ideally be kept inside several locked chests but otherwise kept in a relatively secret location a little way out of town.
When a craft like this starts it is probably not going to put on any more than one play per lifetime to begin with. However as you gain more and more plays it becomes easier, you can simply perform them without needing to write them first. Eventually a bard should have a wide array of scripts to choose from for their next show and a public space already in place dedicated to such events so all they need do is gather some actors and perform. Two should do it most of the time. A long established bardic tradition would become a great source of pride for any settlement if they can create and maintain such a complicated establishment for long enough. Eventually you might want to leave a few pages explaining how to be a bard so that if the tradition dies out someone might once again don the pack and start putting on shows once again. Don’t expect everyone to watch it but you don’t need them to. Usually this trade would have two or three bards in it at a time, each once enthusiastic babies from the nursery. If these bards are old enough then they can perform rather than crowd members. To make this easier try to limit the words on each page as much as possible.

But anyways. If I ever get born into a town during the Second Act of their Terrible Tragedy of Eve the Wise then I’ll be sure to think of this post once again and the people who turned the idea into a reality. I suppose that’s just showbiz!


You’re an absolute genius.

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Thanks : )