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Old 02-14-2011, 11:51 PM   #1
Mnemosyne
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White Tree The King's Players - Discussion/Planning Thread

Mnemosyne cordially invites you to share in the planning and play of The King's Players.

This game is an experimental offering which attempts to take into account some of the suggested reforms on the Measure of Success thread. It is intended to be a short, intense game, occurring in "half time": a day in real life will equal half a day in the game, and core players should be able to set aside two weeks to post regularly to the game thread and keep the plot rolling.

Ownership and plot-control of the game will be shared among the players, so that whatever events we decide will happen will make sense for the characters (who will, by and large, be driving the action themselves). Because the game itself is so intensive, I'm hoping that together we can come up with a bare-bones timeline, over the real-life time of two weeks to a month. We'd then flesh it out spontaneously in-game.

Finally, if you don't have the time to commit to the game for two solid weeks, you are free to come up with characters who can interact with the core group or with one another. As explained below, the premise of the game is such that introducing a new character in this way should be easy.



The Premise

It's Fourth Age 21, and the King's Peace has reigned over the Reunited Kingdom and Rohan for a generation of Men. We (the core players) are a travelling acting troupe that has sprung up in these times of peace, and every year for the past five years we've stopped at Minas Anor for Cormare,* to put on a theatrical rendition of the War of the Ring as popular entertainment in the First Circle. This year, however, we've run into a snag: the King has as his guests the Mayor of the Shire (who was himself esquire to the Ring-bearer) and his family. What's more, they've found out about the play, and have convinced the Court to attend. We've never meant any harm by our work, but we based the play on the tales others told us, and on what looks good on a stage. But if our show is to be attended not only by one who was present, but the King himself?...

How do we find out what's true and what's not? And we don't have much time to figure out...

*Yavannie 30 by the calendar in the Fourth Age. This day corresponds to Frodo's birthday and is a canonical Fourth Age holiday. Alternatively, we could choose the Gondorian New Year, which is the anniversary of the Ring's destruction.



Characters Needed - The Players - about 6, up to 8

People who play these characters should expect to post regularly each day on the game thread.

The Players can come from a variety of backgrounds, and even races (I don't see Elves and Dwarves as particularly likely, but if you can make it work, by all means go ahead! A hobbit from Bree is slightly more conceivable). They need not even be actors, as long as you can justify their presence in the troupe.

More important is the fact that none of the Players should have been important, learned, or connected enough in the time of the War to have any conceivable idea of the real story of what happened.

Brinn (alias Celebrindal) - Mnemosyne's character

Amdir, son of Amrod - Formendacil's character

Branor - Boromir88's character

Harrenon - Dimturiel's character

Asta - Nerwen's character

Characters Needed - Others - limitless

Therian - Feanor of the Peredhil's character

Cirdacil, Lord of Burlach - Anguirel's character

Vëandur - Inziladun's character

Coldan - Pitchwife's character

Rollan - Mnemosyne's character

Aldarion - the phantom's character

Sereth - Thinlomien's character

People who play these characters need not post regularly on the game thread.

Minas Anor has gotten increasingly cosmopolitan in times of peace, and many visitors come by each year for the Cormare festivals. Thus, anyone who could justifiably be in the City at this time, except for canon characters, is up for play. They should have some reason to interact with the Players, even if only as an audience member.



Character Sheets

NAME:

AGE/GENDER/RACE/WHERE FROM:

APPEARANCE (very brief physical description/or as detailed as the player wishes to be):

BITS OF CHARACTER/HISTORY YOU FEEL MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN DEFINING THE CHARACTER
(again, as brief or detailed as you wish):




Final Notes

I am using the short character sheet in part because I think it would be more fitting for the Players to develop their histories and biographies in tandem.

As noted above, the title is working. The Players will need a troupe name, and while the King's Players might work, presumably the King himself doesn't know, as he hasn't sponsored the group. (On the other hand, if we do a stellar enough job that we can secure his patronage...)

The players will also have to determine what sort of erroneous play we've been putting on for the last five years.

Currently I am considering playing the manager of the troupe, who handles the finances, etc. and is married to one of the actors? Still very foggy about her, and the history of the troupe, which is probably as it should be this early in the game.

As this is a collaborative RP, feel free to make suggestions about the gameplay itself. All ideas here are open for debate.


General Resources for Players, to be Heeded Or Ignored At Will

Political theories concerning Early Fourth Age Gondor: http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=12311 Players should note that at this time Elessar's edict that no Men should enter the Shire is in effect.

Possible real-world theatrical analogues: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_theatre
http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/medieval.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English...ssance_theatre

Gondorian Time-keeping: Pippin hears three bells (indicating three bells since sunrise) at 9:00 in the morning. This reflects the old church system of prayers, minus the prayers: 3 bells is 9:00, 6 bells is noon, 9 bells is 3:00, 12 bells is sunset. We're around the time of the equinox, so an hour is about an hour.

Meals in Gondor: May have changed in the early Fourth Age due to no longer being at war, a new King and new customs, but here's how things were done during the siege: one meal at daybreak (unnamed, but light--though this may be due to siege), one meal at noon (nuncheon), one meal at sunset (daymeal).

Miscellaneous canon: Rose is almost certainly pregnant with Gamgee #13, Tom, unless she's already given birth.

-------------------------------

from Pio:

Just a quick reminder for all players:

Reminders for an RPG in play:
  • Please remove your signature from EVERY post to the RPG thread - including SAVES

  • Don't use smileys in your RPG posts or icons - e.g., etc.

  • Don't highlight any part of the RPG text.

  • Don't use the 'Reason for Editing' function on your RPG posts. If it's critical that other players know that you've changed something, then put a post on the Discussion Thread about your edit.

  • No OOC (out of character comments) on the RPG thread - use the Discussion Thread.

  • SAVES should be filled within 48 hours and may be removed from the game at the discretion of the game facilitator. The game facilitator may disallow any SAVES to his/her game.
  • If there's something crucial you need to post but can't at the time, you can place your finished post on the Discussion Thread and ask the Forum Moderator to insert it in the appropriate place on the game thread.

  • Swearing, sexual conduct, or obscenity of any kind are absolutely prohibited. There are no exceptions -- per The Barrow-Wight
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:34 AM   #2
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Ah, well, I like the sound of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemo
As noted above, the title is working. The Players will need a troupe name, and while the King's Players might work, presumably the King himself doesn't know, as he hasn't sponsored the group.
Couldn't that become an interesting plot complication?

Quote:
The players will also have to determine what sort of erroneous play we've been putting on for the last five years.
Actually, Mnemo, I think that's related to another question– what is theatre in Fourth Age Gondor like? How stylised is it; what conventions does it have? Does it happen to bear a curious resemblance to any real form of drama, modern or historical? All that would have a big influence on the way in which the players would treat their material. Maybe there's "standard" elements they've inserted in the story because they're crowd-pleasing, or just because, "you have to have a dragon, everyone knows that".

The other main factor would be their source(s) of information.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:22 AM   #3
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I don't think I'd have time to play in something this intensive as a main character (it would really depend on which two-week time frame we're talking about), but I'd love to at least play a couple of cameos.

Coming up with an erroneous plot line sounds like loads of fun. Something like... Frodo and Sam fight their way through 1000's of Orcs to win through to Orodruin where they discover a dragon is guarding the Cracks (love the bit about the dragon, Mnemo).

Or... Shadowfax actually had wings and Gandalf fought the Witchking in the air over the city.

Or a rumor that's a little more canonical (): each one of the Rohirrim really did bring a hobbit warrior with him on his horse.

I feel like King Elessar would also very likely be blown way out of proportion (I mean, the guy summoned dead people, healed Faramir, Eowyn, and Merry using some plant no one knew had any uses, is way old, and was obviously in close cahoots with the Elves, not to mention Gandalf). Magic powers anyone?
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:58 AM   #4
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Perhaps because I just finished reading The Way of the World in one class, and am covering Shakespeare in another, but I have a strongly Elizabethan/pseudo-Restoration image in mind. Perhaps the Restoration image works better, culturally, insofar as it was an era of peace and the flowering of the arts after a harsher, turbulent period--that and it allowed women on the stage (though it might be fun to use Elizabethan men-only rules in 4th Age Gondor, the co-ed version seems more manageable--and as canonical as what little we know goes).

Anyway, I was thinking, originally, when Mnemo first approached me, that I might sign up for the handyman/stage manager/props maker character--an older man, in his 50s (who would thus have been a young man during the War of the Ring, a veteran of the Pelennor and other battles), and I'm still calling dibs.

However, I wondered if the question of a patron might lead me in another direction. Working off the Renaissance model, it seems likely to me that some noble or other in Gondor would probably be the financial backer of the play--some patron of the arts (otherwise ignorant of how they work). While this might lead in a direction that would help replace the name, "The King's Players," would it be too forward of me to want to place said noble (instead of/as well as the above handyman)?
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #5
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Fascinating premise for a game! Nicely done, Mnemo.

Like Firefoot, I would not have time for an intensive game posting daily but would be very interested in cameo/s.

In response to Nerwen's query about what the drama would be like, and in contrast to Formendacil's sense of Restoration/Renaissance drama, I immediately thought of the Medieval Mystery Plays, where actors travelled 'round town on wagons, each wagon depicting a particular scene (a very early form of--wait for it--"movies") in a story, rather like a tableau. There are also plays called miracle plays, which recount miraculous interventions by saints, and morality plays,which used allegorical characters to educate the masses about good and evil.

In modern restaging of these medieval plays, actors are both men and women. I don't recall if the actual medieval productions employed female actors, but since Adam and Eve were prime movers in at least one of the stories, the gender issue must have been addressed somehow.

anyhow, just opening up some possibilties. I have an "Esmerelda Took" character who might be a costume designer/sewer and then there's always my "Bethberry" character (from early games here on the Downs) who currently is at the Seventh Star and so in Gondor. This character, however, is the daughter of Tom and Goldberry, so she might not be *cough* canonical enough for the current climate.

Lovely to see this proposal!
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Ah, well, I like the sound of this.


Couldn't that become an interesting plot complication?
I like where you're going with that.

As far as historical theater goes, I have no problem whatsoever with curious resemblances. Of course, the great era for travelling theater companies seems to be the medieval period, and I do think that the presence of theater in Gondor is either a recent development or a renaissance of sorts.

Since I'm imagining this as "popular entertainment" I do think that there are standard tropes in order to appeal to as massive an audience as possible. Think Shakespeare's bawdy humor, even in serious tragedies, or the modern-day need to insert a love interest in every action film... The most extreme example of this that I can think of is Bollywood. And I love the idea of the dragon, Nerwen.

Quote:
The other main factor would be their source(s) of information.
And for that, I'm taking this as my cue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ioreth, "The Steward and the King
Why, cousin, one of them went with only his esquire into the Black Country and fought with the Dark Lord all by himself, and set fire to his Tower, if you can believe it.
That, plus twenty years. Of course, in that time I imagine some more official histories have come up (though Minas Anor does not yet have a copy of the Red Book)--otherwise no one would understand why the holiday is called "Ring-Day."

I do think that there would be both actors and actresses. We also might want to think about stock characters, and whether certain people would always play the same part--the clown, the ingenue, the tragedian, etc.

On patronage: I could see us functioning with or without a current patron. But whoever that is would have to not know, or not care about historical accuracy! That could also be taken care of by having the troupe originally having started out somewhere like Dale... after all, Elessar isn't the only King...

Thank you all for your interest and suggestions!
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:49 PM   #7
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I've just realised that there's someone else who role plays here who has had seamstress characters and quite possibly that might be her baliwik, if she chooses to join, so I withdraw Esmerelda the costume designer to work on someone else.

Is the game to be, say, a rehearsal for the show, with ensuing hilarity about how to correct historical inaccuracies? Or is it to be about how the players find out about the real history?

I'd love to see a Baldrick in the game (not a character I think I'd wite well).
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:59 PM   #8
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Looks very good fun.

Who will play the canon characters?

Can I sign up as another flakey cameo? I would like to be an old, crotchety Gondorian noble in the King's retinue, who disapproves of frivolous theatrical pursuits and wants the players to be dispersed.

Ideally I'd like to have a gallant young son who's secretly really into theatre, if anyone wanted to play him...

I won't post all that often.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #9
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If I may continue the patronage discussion, I think that if we settle whether we're looking at a travelling troupe vs. a more sedentary company (ala. the Renaissance), we'll end up with a decision regarding the need for patronage.

I quite agree with Mnemo that an active dramatic tradition in Gondor is almost certainly a renaissance and recent development. It's hard to see it flourishing in the declining Gondor of Denethor, focused culturally on the omnipresent Mordor problem.

That said, just because it is a renaissance of drama in Gondor does not mean that drama in Gondor must follow the (capital R) Renaissance model--though, as mentioned in my last post, I like it. It seems equally plausible to me that travelling troupes would have been among the first developments after the War of the Ring. Perhaps some Hobbits, encouraged by the example of Messrs. Baggins, Gamgee, Took, and Brandybuck set out to Bree and started reënacting the Battle of Bywater after their purses ran out, and in the entrepreneurial spirit of the Restored Monarchy, this turned into a bi-racial travelling troupe making money in the Mannish lands of the South by mixture of having exotic Hobbits and stories that played off the popular sentiments of victory.

Or maybe (as Mnemo suggested), they have their origins in the Mannish cultures of Rhovannion (aka Dale), gone south to a more cosmopolitan setting where there's "steady" work and a larger affluent audience. Maybe it started in the cultured estates of Dol Amroth.

I think that even if we accept travelling troupes as the origins of 4th Age drama, that it's possible one or more of the travelling troupes could have settled more or less permanently in Minas Anor. As the main city of the Reunited Kingdoms--and a growing city, too--it would have been able to supply a regular audience, and would have had enough resident/visiting aristocracy to make patronage possible--and I would contend, based on the Renaissance model, that patronage would be needed to subsidize a sedentary company. What's more, I think that the climate of post-Ring war Gondor would have encouraged nobles to support the arts, and that there might even have been friendly competition in this respect.



Oh! And a random thought... perhaps the "dragon" is a not-always-functioning "toy" from the marvellous craftsmen of the Lonely Mtn/Dale, ala the toys at Bilbo's party?
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:15 PM   #10
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NAME: Amdír, son of Amrod

AGE/GENDER/RACE/WHERE FROM: Amdír is a Gondorian man, 56 years old, originally from Lamedon.

APPEARANCE As an older man, of mixed Gondorian descent, Amdír appears unremarkable. That is to say, he's pure Gondorian as far back as anyone can recall, but since he's no noble, the chances that he's pure-blooded Dúnedain are slim to none. In any case, he's just an ordinary Gondorian man in his later years. He's about 5'9", grey haired and balding, well-built as befits a craftsman, with a bit of a limp.

BITS OF CHARACTER/HISTORY YOU FEEL MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN DEFINING THE CHARACTER Amdír was born in Lamedon, the youngest son of a prosperous farmer, and was married to a lass from the same region. In his mid-thirties, he served under Angbor of Lamedon in the War of the Ring in the Battle of the Pelennor, where he was injured. After the war, he settled his family in Minas Tirith, making his way as a carpenter. He eventually came into the service of one of the noble houses (if we decide the troupe has a patron, this might be the man), as a member of the household--sort of a general repairman. As he is good with his hands, Amdír picked up a number of general skills, and eventually found his way into the troupe as a set-designer [either when they came to Minas Anor for the current production or since his master started being their patron]. Though he was happily married, he has recently been widowed, and with four grown children, he is somewhat alone and looking for purpose.

Suggestions?

Last edited by Formendacil; 02-15-2011 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Edited to take into account things being a decade earlier.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:19 PM   #11
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Your bloke has combat experience in the actual war; that seems dangerously close to knowing the truth! Maybe you could do a "man of few words quietly amused at the absurd exaggerations" dynamic...
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel View Post
Your bloke has combat experience in the actual war; that seems dangerously close to knowing the truth! Maybe you could do a "man of few words quietly amused at the absurd exaggerations" dynamic...
Well, it depends which part of the war you're interested in. I daresay he's the sort who wouldn't criticize the director/playwright's decisions--though he might take liberties in improving set-pieces and such--but in any case, the destruction of the Ring happened 25 March, and he would have been convalescing in Minas Tirith, rather than actually present at the Black Gate. Besides, even if he'd been at the Black Gate, who knows what those Halflings were doing exactly that brought down the Dark Lord:

"All I know is that that wizard Gandalf showed up on fire-breathing Eagles and forced a dragon to its death in the fires of Mt. Doom--no, I know it wasn't the Witchking, because he was killed by the Lady Éowyn, her that married our Prince Faramir, at the Pelennor, and I saw the carcass of his fell beast with my own two eyes, not more than a yard from where the King of Rohan fell. Of course, my leg was broken by then, and I'd lost a lot of blood, but Beren, who was my father's sister's son, carried me off the battlefield, and he saw it too. Where Gandalf was then, I don't know, nor his eagles either, but it would have saved us a lot of trouble if he'd have just flown into Mordor 1000 years ago and finished the dragon... but they say he wasn't a white wizard then. Maybe he couldn't wear white till the Lady Éowyn killed the Witchking. I don't know.

"Or maybe it was the halfings that he found in Mordor that made the difference. To be honest, I never did get the story straight, though I met the perian Mediadoc briefly while we both convalescing, waiting for news of the army that marched to the Black Gates--marched to certain doom, we thought. Polite enough, though strangely familiar with all those he met. But that's the way of the periannath, they say. Prince Peregrin was the same, or so my cousin Beren said..."
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:55 PM   #13
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The game sounds awesoe, Mnemosyne! I'm afraid I'll have to miss out on it, though, because I won't have enough time to participate properly.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:07 PM   #14
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On fixity or transhumance...

1). Having a patron does not necessarily mean that the players don't travel. There are some troupes around Shakespeare's time who finally "made it big" when they settled in town, and they called themselves by their patron's name even when they were still travelling.

2). The more "settled" the troupe is, the more advance notice we would have had of the Royal Guests. Which isn't necessarily a big deal, given that the event which sparks this whole thing is finding out that the Court is attending. After all, the King was there, and we've never bothered with that before.

3). We're still only 20 years into the Fourth Age, so there doesn't have to be a fixed pattern yet. One highly conventional way to go would be, if the final product is good enough, secure the Crown's (or a different noble's) patronage and thus become Minas Anor's first permanent group.


Taking other threads by the numbers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
Is the game to be, say, a rehearsal for the show, with ensuing hilarity about how to correct historical inaccuracies? Or is it to be about how the players find out about the real history?
Up to us, I'd say. But we have one to two weeks in-game to figure it out, so I don't see why both wouldn't work. Say, on the first day we're still outside the city, run through the rehearsal, on the second day one of us bumps into Elanor, on the third day a messenger from the Court shows up, and then we have eleven days to find out what's inaccurate, decide what to change, and then make and rehearse the changes. Then on the last to second-to-last day we'd do the revised (if it's revised) performance, with all the pompous types coming down? That was the fuzzy idea I had in my head, but if people want to make it more about one thing than the other then we should do that.

Anguirel, I'm currently thinking that the canons should be NPCs, and that whoever has to interact with them will write them for that interaction. And of course you're welcome to introduce as many flaky cameos as you'd like.

Formy, the mechanical dragon that always breaks would be a real delight. And Amdir looks great. Another idea to incorporate him into the Players' past is that, if we put on multiple shows while at Minas Anor, it might be helpful to have a temporary stage of sorts. So even if you haven't been travelling with us, you might have helped with building sets in the past.

Finally:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel
Your bloke has combat experience in the actual war; that seems dangerously close to knowing the truth!
Given the number of times Pippin had to explain that, no, he wasn't really the Prince of the Halflings, and no, he hadn't promised Denethor an army of hobbits that would be showing up with Rohan, I don't think we have anything to worry about on that count.

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
The game sounds awesoe, Mnemosyne! I'm afraid I'll have to miss out on it, though, because I won't have enough time to participate properly.
You can still write up a minor character who only shows up for a couple of days, though, if you'd like. At this rate, we're probably going to need a loremaster or three...
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:15 PM   #16
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3). We're still only 20 years into the Fourth Age, so there doesn't have to be a fixed pattern yet. One highly conventional way to go would be, if the final product is good enough, secure the Crown's (or a different noble's) patronage and thus become Minas Anor's first permanent group.
Whoops! I had 31 F.A. in my head, rather than 21... so I may need to tweak Amdír's bio ever so slightly...

EDIT: ...and I have now done so.

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Originally Posted by Mnemosyne
Formy, the mechanical dragon that always breaks would be a real delight. And Amdir looks great. Another idea to incorporate him into the Players' past is that, if we put on multiple shows while at Minas Anor, it might be helpful to have a temporary stage of sorts. So even if you haven't been travelling with us, you might have helped with building sets in the past.
Glad you like it--and some sort of longer standing rapport with the players makes good sense for playing Amdír, whether he's a permanent fixture or temporary help.

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:27 PM   #17
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You can still write up a minor character who only shows up for a couple of days, though, if you'd like. At this rate, we're probably going to need a loremaster or three...
Even a minor character has to talk. I cannot post from school, and I have limited time at home. That won't give me enough time to have any conversation. Plus, things will be going on while I'm at school with real life speed, and my character will be rooted to the spot the whole time! The most I can do is a character that will come and go right away...
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:21 PM   #18
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I've fallen desperately in love with the concept of a dragon, and based on research I've done in the past year, I'm distinctly interested in automatons. Anybody read The Invention of Hugo Cabret?

Would it perturb anybody if I was a mostly minor character (depending on my free time) with the role of Dragon Puppeteer? I don't wish to confiscate this brilliant idea from its owner, though. Nerwen? Mneminem?

"It don't matter if there was or wasn't, because Mount Doom and The Lonely Mountain both had rings and hobbits!"

Also, how will the time line work? Are there specific goals we should be playing toward each Day, or is it more loose than that? Two weeks is lovely, but how will each real life day correlate with the writing of the game day?
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:24 AM   #19
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Permission to barge in...

I just read this game proposal today and I think it's a great idea. I think it is safe to say that I can commit myself to posting every day for two weeks, since I'm more or less free at the moment. Therefore I think I could try my hand at a main character, if that's ok with you.

I do have one question, though. What about the actors? Is it going to be an all male cast like in the medieval/ Renaissance period? Or are there female actors as well? I was just wondering so I could get a better idea of what a cast of actors in Gondor would look like.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:27 AM   #20
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This is a wonderful game idea! It sounds like it will be great fun. My first spontaneous thought was to offer a cameo by my alter ego Estelyn Telcontar, the Loremistress of Minas Tirith. Alas, her backstory doesn't fit into the timeframe (she's Arwen's great-granddaughter), and my personal timeframe doesn't fit into the RPG either. I will be travelling in two weeks, so participation will not be possible for me. I will most certainly read the story with great interest.

(PS - I'm the writer who has done seamstress characters in a couple of RPGs, but as I can't write here, I would encourage Bêthberry or someone else to take on that role.)
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:33 AM   #21
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Alright, can I say that I'm in love with theater troupes and how amusing they can be, especially one that's basically starting up with it's first "major" production (if I've got Mnemo's premise right).

As it is for me right now, I'm taking an extended break from WW, because I can't do any sort of commitment on the weekends. However, Mondays-Fridays, I'm anyone's who wants me. If someone will be able to pick up my character on Saturdays and Sundays, I can be a regular player. If not, then I'll begin thinking of some minor roles.

My thought for a regular character, would be the loud, arrogant member of the troupe, who thinks he's the biggest star of the show, and tries to hog the spot-light. I can imagine a character, who has as much humility as Denethor, playing Sam or Gandalf. That would go over well, in front of the King.

And if I feel because of my inability to commit any writing saturday-sunday, for minor roles, I was originally thinking a theater critic from Minas Anor. However, since we're leaning towards the Renaissance model, I think it'd be too early to have any psuedo-professional theater critic.

Instead if you're looking for cameos to focus on the historical accuracy of the performance. I've had an image of Imrahil, in the "changing" Gondor would be fond of the arts. So, I'm thinking a Swan-knight of Dol Amroth, who went with Imrahil to Minas Tirith, would likely be interested in attending the big show?
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:17 PM   #22
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A thought...

Would a Greek Chorus equivalent be appropriate in this instance? Because I could see potential for some hilarity ensuing, and that would allow for some poetry to come into the mix in a very meaningful way.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:46 PM   #23
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Well I'll be person #whatever to say that this is a very cool game idea but I cannot participate because I'm in a very busy part of the semester atm. I love the acting troupe idea and can't wait to see how it develops!
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:51 PM   #24
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Taken by the numbers...

Galadriel55, that's a shame. I do hope you'll read the RP, though, and if you're following the general planning discussion as we try to zero in on theatrical culture and you have any ideas, feel free to continue.

That goes for everyone else who might be looking on with interest--obviously the people who are playing the game will ultimately decide what we are and aren't going to do, but I, at least, would not mind having more ideas to toss about than I can come up with on my own.

Fea, the Dread Dragon was not my idea--it was Nerwen's. Consequently I have no problem with your becoming our resident dragon operator, as long as she wasn't planning to do anything with it.

Dimturiel, welcome to the Players! At the moment we're much more in need of players who can commit to posting regularly, so I'm really pleased that you've expressed interest. Do you have any ideas for a character yet?

The nature of theater at this time is actually our current source of debate. Given attitudes towards women in Middle-earth in general, I don't see any reason that women shouldn't be allowed to act. (Gondor is remarkably sanitized from the kinds of professional women that actresses were often mistaken as or expected to be.) On the other hand, how many of the shows that the Players put on would require a large number of female parts? Of course, in a pinch, any of the actors (I think) would be comfortable enough playing someone of the opposite sex, especially if actresses take on the part of "youths" like any good mezzo-soprano.

Estelyn, depending on how long the planning takes, you may be able to hop in anyway... That's actually something for everyone to keep in mind--the two weeks of gameplay are going to start in the future... hopefully only two to three weeks from now, but maybe longer, depending on how long it takes for us to fill up our cast, get better acquainted with our characters, and come up with enough of a plot so that we're not floundering away.

Boro - If we can all make sure to plan things out now, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to take on a main part. Now that we're discussing the extent to which people can write others' characters on the Measure of Success thread, this could be a way of determining whether the sky will, in fact, fall down if someone takes over someone else's character for a few days. Of course, one of the weekends your character could get a bad stomach virus*, or, depending on how much we have outlined, you could give a player, in advance, a post of what your character might be doing during that time. The point is, as long as we have enough people keeping the plot rolling, having to miss out on the weekends isn't terrible. After all, any one of us could fall sick, or suddenly have to spend the next three days on the road because our job was cancelled early due to a swine flu outbreak.

*If, in fact, you decide to be our Leading Ham, getting ill right before the performance would make an even better plot twist, would it not?

The chorus - an interesting idea, and not necessarily limited to the Greek style. Having someone to serve as a narrator of sorts could easily work. As far as poetry goes, another model that we might want to keep in mind are the extended nights of theater that were so popular in Victorian times, in which you have a farce, some singing while the set is changed, and then a tragedy, etc. I was actually looking online last night for the video of the 1980's stage Nicholas Nickleby, in which the characters do put on such an entertainment--Romeo and Juliet with a sudden surprise happy ending, and I think the whole thing ends with a patriotic song. The point is, there are a lot of styles to choose from and mix and match.

When I get back to my computer tonight, I'll put up a post with some more concrete questions so that we can begin to narrow some things down. At the very least I'll need these answered so I can get a better feel for my character.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:23 PM   #25
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Estelyn, depending on how long the planning takes, you may be able to hop in anyway...
Perhaps I could come in toward the end, if the game is still going after March 15 - would I be allowed to take on a canonical character like Ioreth? She would be considerably aged by that time, of course, and her memory *might* not be entirely accurate, but I can certainly reproduce her voice! She could be approached by one of the troupe members for first-hand information...
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:34 PM   #26
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Esty, if it's possible, that would be delightful.

And one other thing that I had wanted to put in that earlier post but quite forgotten about:

PANTOMIME!!!

Discuss.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:29 AM   #27
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Okay, some questions, the answers to which will (I think) help solidify the game or at least my character:

1). Where, and how, did the Players get their start? I'm planning on playing one of the founders, so--how many people started the group, and how did they know each other beforehand?

2). Do we have a patron at the moment? If so, who?

3). Where is our current circuit?

4). What sorts of real-world styles are we going to borrow, if any? In what ways?


Finally: currently, this is what I'm thinking for my character so far: 1). she's married to one of the founders. 2). She's in her 30's? 3). If we have another female Player, she takes the older female roles when necessary but prefers not to act, instead running things backstage, prompting, and (if necessary) ad lib entertaining (see 5.) if the players need to stall for time. 4). She's in charge of the finances and logistics of running the troupe. 5). She has a fiddle and a decent singing voice.


Nerwen, I couldn't tell by your initial post whether you were interested in joining the game as one of the Players or as a side character.

Dimturiel, any ideas yet on what sort of a character you'd like to play?

At any rate, anyone who's thinking of being one of the Players, please give me some feedback on the questions above, and suggestions as to how your characters could (or couldn't) fit into the framework for my character.

Oh, and she clearly needs a name. But that'll depend to an extent on where she's from, which might in turn depend on where the troupe was founded. Whew!
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:30 AM   #28
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Would it perturb anybody if I was a mostly minor character (depending on my free time) with the role of Dragon Puppeteer? I don't wish to confiscate this brilliant idea from its owner, though. Nerwen?
As long as you're extra-nice to me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemo
1). Where, and how, did the Players get their start? I'm planning on playing one of the founders, so--how many people started the group, and how did they know each other beforehand?
Are you thinking of the founders as coming from a place that already had a traditional drama, or do you suppose theatre had died out altogether, and only been revived in the last few years?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemo
2). Do we have a patron at the moment? If so, who?
This is just my suggestion, but I think we might have named ourselves, "The King's Players" out of hubris, either not knowing, or not caring, that in Minas Anor this would be taken as meaning we actually had royal sponsorship. Or maybe there's been a recent edict that you can't call yourself "The King's" or "The Royal" anything without official sanction, and we only just found out, much to our consternation.

Oh, and I'll be one of the players, if you please. I'll get back to you on the details. For the moment, I feel somebody other than Fea the puppeteer needs to be passionate about the need for a dragon, so I think I'll play one of the leads, and have made a great hit either slaying or being rescued from the beast.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:21 AM   #29
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Dimturiel, any ideas yet on what sort of a character you'd like to play?
I have some ideas, yes. I've thought of a slightly over-enthusiastic young actor - perhaps around twenty or so - from somewhere in Gondor. I only have a rough sketch in my mind but I'll do some more thinking and come up with more information - and a name - by tomorrow.

Quote:
1). Where, and how, did the Players get their start?
Somewhere around Gondor, maybe? While I agree with what some of you said that the theatre could not have flourished in Denethor's times, I think dramatic arts could have existed in Gondor before, if we take into consideration their level of civilisation and the fact that it was a society that vallued knowledge quite a lot. Usually such societies are the ones more artistically inclined. The way I see it, Gondor must have had theatres before the Stewards came to rule and things started getting nastier with Sauron, when it understandably started to decline. Maybe our troup was intending to reinstate that tradition?
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:38 AM   #30
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Boro - If we can all make sure to plan things out now, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to take on a main part. Now that we're discussing the extent to which people can write others' characters on the Measure of Success thread, this could be a way of determining whether the sky will, in fact, fall down if someone takes over someone else's character for a few days.
Would that make me a guinea pig?

But, yes we can work around the not being here for the weekends thing, which means I'll be the troupe's Ham. I like the sound of a severe stomach virus, or tragic (depending on who you ask ) loss of voice, right before the performace. That is fitting.

Basic outline of what I'm thinking then...Ideal stage voice and passionate. However, he never gets out of character. He remains boisterous and annoyingly dramatic, even when he's not performing.

I'll be one of the founders then, which leads me, when was the troupe founded? If we're a relatively new troupe, are we talking 1 to 2 years? Under a year?

Quote:
2). Do we have a patron at the moment? If so, who?
I've got no problem with Form's character as our patron. And with regards to patronage...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen
This is just my suggestion, but I think we might have named ourselves, "The King's Players" out of hubris, either not knowing, or not caring, that in Minas Anor this would be taken as meaning we actually had royal sponsorship. Or maybe there's been a recent edict that you can't call yourself "The King's" or "The Royal" anything without official sanction, and we only just found out, much to our consternation.
I like. "The King's Players" gives the impression that we're legit, and could be interesting as we stumble around curious people asking what King sponsors the troupe.

Quote:
3). Where is our current circuit?
Can't go wrong with Gondor. Bree is a cultural, lively hub, that would be a good place too. Or if we are going with the dragon-idea, perhaps Dale? They're familiar with Dragons and that sparked the need to insert Puppet-Dragon into the act.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:09 AM   #31
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Formy, the mechanical dragon that always breaks would be a real delight. And Amdir looks great. Another idea to incorporate him into the Players' past is that, if we put on multiple shows while at Minas Anor, it might be helpful to have a temporary stage of sorts. So even if you haven't been travelling with us, you might have helped with building sets in the past.
Not to intrude on this idea for Formy as a set builder, but if this is a travelling troupe, would we travel via wagons? And could those wagons be convertible to stages? (Stage-wagon?) (sorry, bad I know).

Quote:
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Or if we are going with the dragon-idea, perhaps Dale? They're familiar with Dragons and that sparked the need to insert Puppet-Dragon into the act.
Well, if we are going to be canonical about it and use characters from the historical events , does that mean we should have a Shieldmaiden in the story?

She could do an Ophelia or Lady of Shalott type death until she learns there's another ending . . . . (where's the smilie for pumping heart?) Or she could do a Joan of Arc burning scene. Pyrotechnics! We could work in some anti-witches/heretics stuff which is overturned (or not).

The actress who plays her could be the daughter of the founders, depending on their ages of course. Or an orphan picked up by the troupe, who has duties outside of acting. Selling oranges to the audiences?

*coughs* I've never played a shieldmaiden yet. *coughs*
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:34 PM   #32
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Okay, so that means we're looking at five Players already! Wow!

Given the paramount importance that our dragon seems to have, allow me to suggest the following origin story, which (I hope) will take input from what everyone's said so far...

Every year, as part of the events surrounding Smaug's death in Laketown, Dale has put on a creative reenactment of the story. During the first years of the post-war economic boom, the king of Dale financed my character's (Brinn or some variant thereon) father, a skilled toymaker, to make a bigger, better, and grander dragon. As Brinn's friends (and betrothed) had taken leading parts in the drama, our feet were itching, and we'd heard that the South was getting loaded in cash, Brinn convinced her father to let them have the old dragon. After a few months of patching up and modifying some old defunct wagons, they decided to take an abridged form of the show on the road. They took on the name "The King's Players" because 1). it sounded grand, and 2). the King of Dale had been kind enough to give them a little money to fix up those wagons. ...Maybe.

Whilst touring among the fiefs of Gondor, the King's Players were astonished to find out that a theatrical tradition was already there, and that a few other small acting companies were making smaller tours in the fiefs. The largest one of these was the Swan Players in Dol Amroth, whom they had the misfortune of duelling show runs. These players had a patron (Imrahil), and they'd been running since well before the war--since the time of the Kings, they claimed, but Brinn at least didn't believe that. They seemed to look down on their nose at the more *ahem* popular nature of our entertainment, but they had to admit that they did not have a dragon, and if they had had one they would want to use it as often as possible too. After a bit of a fight, though, the two troupes decided to stagger their tours, so that neither group would be in the same place. They took Minas Anor for the New Year; we took them for Cormare.

The King's Players been touring the area for 3-5 years, now, long enough for a couple of our founders to have settled down with a local, and long enough for us to recruit some Gondorians. Dimturiel, maybe this is where your character came in--he or she may have gotten a start with another company, or was just a local who liked what we were doing.

We may have taken a break on these tours by going somewhere else for a year--Rohan, maybe, or back to Dale and over to Bree. Or maybe we went to Bree before we headed south. I want to leave these options open in case, say, we recruit a hobbit.

Finally, while in Gondor, Brinn (and I think Boro's ham would do the same) has taken on a more suitable stage name: Celebrindal. She obviously has no idea what it means, though, as she's a bit clumsy (which is why she doesn't act when she can help it. Especially near the Dragon).


Okay, how does that sound? Good? Good, but needs some changes? Bad? This is supposed to be a "shared authority" RP so I don't want to be making decisions unless people want me to.


One other question: how humorously (or seriously) are we playing this? I could still see it going either way, or switching between the two. But better to discuss it now than when the game's in full swing.


Bethberry, I was thinking that normally we use the Stage Wagons, but the festivals in Gondor are long enough that we thought to try to switch to a more permanent set. Or, maybe, one of the wagons broke down in a previous year and Amdir fixed it? At any rate we'll need his help again if any of our sets need to be different.

Or he might have been travelling with us on our circuits for a while. Up to Formy, really.

Quote:
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*coughs* I've never played a shieldmaiden yet. *coughs*
Are you insinuating something?

Boro, glad you're on board. For some reason I'm imagining this scene: "Surely, if Lord Samwise himself will be attending, he will want to see himself portrayed by no less than the best actor of them all!" And the rest of us trying to talk him down...
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:15 PM   #33
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I wanted to get my character sheet completed (or at least mostly complete) before tomorrow. Having a stage name has given me an idea.

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NAME: Branor

AGE/GENDER/RACE/WHERE FROM: 28, Male, Man, Esgaroth

APPEARANCE: By the standards of the Men of Dale, Branor is considered tall (almost 6'2''), pale-skinned, and slender, but healthy looking. He has dark brown, shoulder-length hair, and brown eyes.

BITS OF CHARACTER/HISTORY YOU FEEL MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN DEFINING THE CHARACTER: Branor's dad, Bainor, was a weaponsmith and fortunately took Branor to Erebor where they found refuge when the Dark Lord's army came. Branor was too young to fight, but remembers the fear of being trapped in the Lonely Mountain, not having hope to escape.

After Sauron's defeat, and a great peace swept across Middle-earth, Branor did not want to be an apprentice to his father, afterall there wasn't much need for weaponsmiths anymore. It wasn't until Branor was nearing 24, when he figured out his life's passion. Branor's good friend, Brinn, pitched him the idea of creating a theater troupe, and doing an act celebrating the demise of the Dragon. He was quite familiar and always intrigued by the story of Smaug. Although, all he knew came from stories his father told him, who had heard the stories from his father. Branor had always been passionate and eccentric. His passion, while performing, tended to bring out the best in everyone else. However, off-stage, he simply looked boisterous and arrogant. In fact, Branor often saw new members of the troupe as a threat to his fame, and after the first couple performances, Branor would rarely ever get out of character! The only member of the troupe he would listen to (unless you were simply stating you agreed with him) was Brinn.

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The troupe's background looks good to me Mnemo. I may have some questions or more to add, tomorrow or when I'm back on Sunday night. If there are any changes I'll adjust Branor's history/how he knows Brinn accordingly.

BB, yes, you know you want to be a shield-maiden.
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:19 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
BB, yes, you know you want to be a shield-maiden.
The only way I see this being more/different levels of amusing is if you go in the direction of a male-only or male-mostly cast, and the role reminiscent of EOWYN is played by a boy. A boy who doesn't even get the story right. And is a BOY. Playing the part of Eowyn. (With a royal audience.) (Point driven home? I'm sick again. AGAIN, I say! My brain isn't on top of subtlety. Just saying, you say shield maiden, I think bwahahaha gender bending swaparoo of epic!)
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:29 PM   #35
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I had an amusing idea, if anyone would like to run with it. Seeing as Dale is a bit short on hobbits and rather longer on dwarves, perhaps they might have a dwarf or two in their troupe to play the hobbits? "What do you mean Hobbits don't have beards?"
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:34 AM   #36
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Sorry, there's little time here for me to write, as there is a family issue that's taking up great time.

If the troupe is from Dale and the dragon is central (and rightly so, I like this), it sounds more to me like The Hobbit than LotR, so I'm not sure there would be much room for an Eowyn figure after all. Unless the dragon picks up Sam and Frodo from the volcano?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boro88
BB, yes, you know you want to be a shield-maiden.
I am uncovered! erm, uncloaked?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fea
The only way I see this being more/different levels of amusing is if you go in the direction of a male-only or male-mostly cast, and the role reminiscent of EOWYN is played by a boy. A boy who doesn't even get the story right. And is a BOY. Playing the part of Eowyn. (With a royal audience.) (Point driven home? I'm sick again. AGAIN, I say! My brain isn't on top of subtlety. Just saying, you say shield maiden, I think bwahahaha gender bending swaparoo of epic!)
Fea my love, I've never written a gender-bender voice and wouldn't want to try it here for the first time. If you like this idea, feel free to take the shieldmaiden character as you'd be a blast with it.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:45 AM   #37
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No, no, the Witch-King was riding the dragon in, and Eowyn had to slay it before she slew the Witch-King, and he nearly scorched her to death, because that's what did Theoden in, you know? (never mind his tombstone)

Or there were FIVE DRAGONS guarding Barad-dur when Frodo the Halfling went there to challenge Sauron to single combat, and while he was there he tricked them into setting the tower on fire and blowing it up and only survived because an eagle happened to fly by at that very moment...
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:48 AM   #38
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Quote:
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Fea my love, I've never written a gender-bender voice and wouldn't want to try it here for the first time. If you like this idea, feel free to take the shieldmaiden character as you'd be a blast with it.
Hm. I'm extremely tempted and I have some very fun ideas, but I need to sleep on it. Given the significance the dragon puppeteer has gained (and delightfully so), would somebody else like to take it? I don't feel right now as though I could do it justice.
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:28 AM   #39
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:57 AM   #40
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Quote:
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No, no, the Witch-King was riding the dragon in, and Eowyn had to slay it before she slew the Witch-King, and he nearly scorched her to death, because that's what did Theoden in, you know? (never mind his tombstone)

Or there were FIVE DRAGONS guarding Barad-dur when Frodo the Halfling went there to challenge Sauron to single combat, and while he was there he tricked them into setting the tower on fire and blowing it up and only survived because an eagle happened to fly by at that very moment...
Wait... didn't the Battle of the Five Dragons take place in Dale. I could've sworn... :-p

For what it's worth, having the playwright/original troupe members originate in Dale could help explain why they know so little of the original story.
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