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Monday, July 11, 2011

Holystone - Street Performers

Street Performers

Street performers are found throughout the city and in Tent City. They are considered a commoner profession, and are generally treated as good citizens. 

The performers generally pass a hat after each performance, or have it sitting in front of them. Buskers with mandolins play all the popular tunes, with troubadours singing along with them. Acrobats perform stunts and magicians perform tricks to wow the bystanders. Artists draw caricatures of people and sell the pictures. Puppeteers have a small wooden stage, and have little puppets perform stories. Dancers in costume team with musicians.

The Market and its surrounding neighborhoods are considered prime territory by street performers, as rich merchant wives tend to tip well. They set up between merchant stalls, and often make plugs for the merchants during their performances.

Further south, the pickings are much slimmer, so the performers there tend to be established at certain locations. They can get very territorial about newcomers, including getting into brawls to scare them away.

A license is required to perform on the streets of the Lord’s City. The performers are assigned locations, so as not to disturb the nobles. Mimes and skilled musicians are usually the only performers permitted. Street performers are willing to pay the license fees, because if they impress a noble, he may become their patron and give them living quarters at the noble manse. Then the performer would just play for the family and their guests, and not have to wander the streets.

Street performers in Cliffside are dwarves, who recite old dwarven poems or sing songs in dwarven. There are only a few of them, all from the Clan Blackstone.

The performers in Tent City live in the tents and wagons there. They often work with their friends, including the gypsies and some Menagerie folks. 

Prominent Performers
1. Jessica and her Improvateers are a well-established group in Tent City. Jessica asks bystanders for a noun and a verb. She then relates a wild tale using the given words, while her Improvateers perform the story she tells. They wear outlandishly bright garb, and Jessica speaks loudly in a rhyming style. Jessica is a tall, blonde human woman, and her Improvateers include humans, halflings, and elves. They have a small circle of wagons in north Tent City, right next to a gypsy family, who they are great friends with.

2. Elle the Elven Dancer performs at the northern edge of the Market. She is a gorgeous elven woman, and is famed for her dances. Many noble girls watch her, and try to learn from her. More than a few of Elle’s dances have become popular at noble parties. Elle uses a magic stone to silence everything within 15 feet of where she dances. She performs flawlessly to music she hears only in her mind. Most viewers try to get close enough to be inside the silence circle, to enhance the performance for themselves.

3. Miklos the Mime performs in Lord’s City. He is actually mute, and has taken up his profession as a way to deal with his problem. He often mimics the Count and other popular nobles. Sometimes he shows them as wise and powerful, other times as buffoons in a comedy. The Count has seen Miklos perform. He knows it makes people laugh at his expense, but lets them relieve stress, so he approves.

4. Mender Blackstone is the eldest dwarven performer in Cliffside. He is a fount of dwarven history, and is respected throughout their community. He is getting ready to retire, as he is slowly losing his voice. His mind can wander at times, as well. Mender often performs at major dwarven celebrations, with his performances worked in with the priest’s ceremonies.

5. Jerri and Jon, a puppet couple, are located near the center of the Market. They perform on a small stage, and benches are set up in front of it for children. Their adventures include fighting monsters, defeating evil cultists, and trying to bake the perfect pie. All the while they make rude jokes and hit each other with sticks. They are very popular among the fishermen and their families. Each performance advertises a merchant at the beginning and the end. The puppeteers make more money from the ads than they do the children, and are quite happy with their setup.

Jessica and her Improvateers is based upon Rebecca Rebecca and her Improvateers, who are found in the novel "Promises to Keep" by Charles de Lint, which I highly recommend.

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