Blackwood Gazette #278-Actress Rochelle Walsh Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Oeil De Fleur University

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

1/12/282- Renowned actress and Crowndonian native Rochelle Walsh recently celebrated her 76th birthday. And while Walsh has not appeared on stage in nearly twenty five years, the University of Oeil De Fleur has bestowed upon her a Lifetime Achievement Award during a lavish ceremony earlier this week.

In attendance was the Empress Marcelette Bastian, who fellow attendees described to be in good humor despite recent turbulence within her court. The history between Walsh and the Empress is said to be a turbulent one; there were rumors of a romantic tryst between Her Grace’s father and Walsh in the years before his death nearly twelve years ago. Whatever the relationship between the Empress and the actress, it is said that her Imperial Majesty was the first to stand during the ovation as Walsh received her award.

Also in attendance was Delando, who has oft stated that he regrets never being afforded the opportunity to work with Walsh. His memory must be selective however, as it is well known that Walsh briefly intended to come out of retirement when Delando’s third play was in the process of casting. During that process, Delando infamously required Walsh to audition for the role, and then even more infamously denied her the part, stating that she was too old (despite his own script describing the character as being of equivalent age to the then 61 year old Walsh; Delando eventually gave the role to 20 year old starlet Alexa Motice, who never acted again).

In addition to her prolific acting career, Walsh is known for actively speaking out against her home nation of Crowndon during the Dividing War six years ago and attempting to use her wealth to help rehabilitate soldiers from both sides. Crowndon rejected her aid and exiled her for her condemnation of the war, a consequence she once called ‘cute’, as she had lived in Nor Easter for most of her life by that point. She was also instrumental in the 247 restoration of the original Empress Theatre, and in its reconstruction after a fire consumed the structure in 280.

Rochelle Walsh herself looked resplendent as she took the stage and accepted her well-deserved award. The star of over sixty plays and thousands of performances gave an impassioned speech thanking her fans and the Empire of Nor Easter. An after party was held, but Walsh did not attend.

Walsh is the first woman and non Nor Easter native to be given the award in its 43 year history.

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Blackwood Gazette #278-Actress Rochelle Walsh Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Oeil De Fleur University

Blackwood Gazette #255- Playwright Delando Announces New Play; Delando Fans Lose Minds in Worst Possible Way

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

12/8/282- Nor Easter’s foremost playwright, Delando, desperately needs a win. After controversies surrounding the use of incendiaries in a play that burned down the Empress Theatre, a subterfuge that involved people of wealth using proxies aboard the ill-fated Heisenberg instead of riding the aircraft themselves, and the complete failure that was the film version of his last play, one would think he’d be bending over backwards to salvage what’s left of his fan base.

And you’d be completely wrong.

“For his next play,” a spokesperson for Delando announced early last week, “Delando will be leaving behind the saga of the ‘Icthylliad’ saga to bring us a new vision, a vision in a world that starkly mirrors our own.”

Mere days after the press release hit papers, fans of Delando’s works took to parks, libraries, and pubs around Nor Easter to rage about the latest announcement.

“How dare Delando leave us hanging in such a way?” said a fan known in Delando circles as Bartolomew Bartlesby Bartlette (after an obscure character who died in the background during the third play only to come back in the tenth to reveal he was the puppet master BEHIND EVERYTHING). “You don’t leave your main character literally hanging from a cliff, about to receive the Elightenment of the 32 Halfweights from the Grand Six of Thelion, for six months only to reveal your next project is something that has nothing to do with said development. I demand satisfaction!”

Clement Aldridge Kene, author of the Gutted Earth series and noted friend/rival of Delando, weighed in on the controversy.

“Delando is not your kept man. He can write whatever he wants, and he’ll eventually circle back around to the ‘Ichtylliad’, for better or for worse. In the meantime, the Gutted Earth series will continue soon, so keep an eye out!”

Fans of Delando and Kene alike responded by holding a public burning of the two writers’ works. Nor Eastern fire marshals were called out to halt the blaze, but not before a few threw their own copies onto the fire.

Blackwood Gazette #255- Playwright Delando Announces New Play; Delando Fans Lose Minds in Worst Possible Way

Blackwood Gazette #182- Theater Goers Protesting Venues Showing Film Version of “Dek Kanar Redak”

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

27/8- Delando’s newest artistic endeavor, a film version of his play ‘Desires of Dek Kanar Redak’, continues its downward spiral into controversy this week as theater goers have taken to KV parlors and other venues showing the film across Nor Easter to protest the film.

“There’s so much wrong with this piece, I’m not even sure where to begin,” said noted critic and expert in theatrical arts Pezzarra Belafonte. “It’s uncomfortable, it’s over-priced, and the silent nature of the films means you cannot experience the emotions of the performers’ voices. On top of that, the quality of the film itself is atrocious.”

Belafonte has spent the last month organizing the protest, coordinating with other critics around the Empire.

“It has been a most stressful endeavor,” said Belafonte. “But also a rewarding one, if we can prevent this new format from overtaking our beloved art form.”

Not all critics are behind Belafonte, however. Trestore Mariche, who lambasted the film, believes that the medium has potential, even if this particular one is a failure.

“Belafonte wants to cast film aside altogether, but I believe this is folly,” Mariche said. “It may be hard to see in ‘Redak’, but I believe that long-form and meaningful story telling might have a future with the right visionary behind it.

“’Dek Kanar Redak’s’ main issue is that Delando simply put a camera in front of the stage and filmed his performers; it’s literally just a play put to film. But imagine if the camera were put into the play itself! You could focus on a certain character while they speak, present the audience with close ups of their faces, or you could play with composition to emphasize a certain thematic element. You could intercut between two scenes at once for dramatic effect, or possibly even stage events that can’t be done on a set. Once you consider the possibilities, it blows open what can be done with drama.

“And who knows? Perhaps one day we could have a form of storytelling that actually invites the audience to direct the story themselves.”

Belafonte, when told of Mariche’s comments, simply snorted and said, “Preposterous. And dangerous. We’ve been doing it one way for centuries, and it works. We have no need to fix it! To say otherwise is…it’s preposterous, I say!”

Blackwood Gazette #182- Theater Goers Protesting Venues Showing Film Version of “Dek Kanar Redak”

Blackwood Gazette #165- Release of “Desires of Dek Kanar Redak” Stirs Controversy; Delando Claims He Needs More Time, Money

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

24/7- Fans of playwright Delando aren’t happy right now. There are a few reasons for this, one of them being his deception during the Heisenberg affair, which left several people dead in place of high standing members of society. But the most recent thing sending fans to teashops to debate is the manner in which “Desires of Dek Kanar Redak” is being released.

“I waited a year to see this thing,” said one theater goer. “And I had to spend 140 pence total to watch it. That’s half the price of a ticket to the theater. On top of that, he only released half of the play on kinetic viewers! So far I’ve paid twice as much to view half a product, and it wasn’t even that good!”

These sentiments are echoed by Delando fans and critics alike across the Empire this week, with many fretting that the future of drama lies in plays being sliced up into overpriced chunks, forcing viewers to pay for mere fraction of a whole story.

“Their worries are unfounded,” said a spokesperson for Delando. “The format in which ‘Dek Kanar Redak’ is being released is simply a result of currently existing technology, plus the fact that we’re still trying to figure out how this should all work.”

Inciting fans further is the fact that the second half of the play has yet to begin filming.

“It’s a minor thing,” Delando’s spokesperson said. “Shooting for the first half went over schedule and over budget. We miscalculated. We went ahead and released the first half to try and recover some of our expenses, part of which includes renting the theater in which we are shooting.”

The fate of said theater is uncertain, as well. Rumors are swirling that the theater’s owner, Patrice Chadeau, is unhappy with the fact that he has been unable to put on other, more popular plays for over a year and is unwilling to permit Delando’s production to keep using his facility for another year.

“We are currently re-negotiating our contract with Mr. Chadeau,” said Delando’s spokesperson. “Things look promising for the moment, but even if they fall through we have another plan in place. You can look forward to part two hitting KV’s this time next year.”

Or you can go to the nearest live venue and catch a performance of the play, which also opened this week, in its entirety.

Blackwood Gazette #165- Release of “Desires of Dek Kanar Redak” Stirs Controversy; Delando Claims He Needs More Time, Money

Blackwood Gazette #1&2: “Fires of D’Kalm D’Korr Opens” & “Klankenvroot Announces New Commercial Aircraft”

It occurred to me  while trying to link the most recent Gazette to a related installment that, absent minded as I am, I never posted the first two installments of “Blackwood Gazette” on this blog, due to the fact that this was originally a misguided foray onto Tumblr.  So, bonus post; the first two installments of “Blackwood Gazette” (do try to contain yourselves…I know this is very exciting stuff):

Blackwood Gazette #1
Curtains Up: Fantasy Epic ‘Fires of D’Kalm D’korr’ Opens in Oeil de Fleur

8/4/280 YT-The theatre going citizenry of Oeil de Fleur turned out in droves last night for the opening of renowned playwright Delando’s newest opus, ‘Fires of D’Kalm D’Korr’. Among those in attendance were some of the Empire’s greatest celebrities, including none other than NorEaster’s greatest hero and favored son, Rigel Rinkenbach.

“The premise sounds like complete rubbish, I must say,” Rinkenbach said. “But I’m a sucker for any piece of art with a name I can’t pronounce, and besides, I’ve nothing to do this night anyway. Also, they [offered me a] free case of Romillion’s Absinthe to be here.”

Others have been waiting outside the Oeil de Fleur Empress Theatre for months, debating the deep lore of the series, and speculating on what might happen in this newest installment.

“It’s a prequel,” one fan said. “It’s going to fill in some important gaps, I hope.”

“I’ve been imagining this story for years!” Another said. “But I’m sure it will exceed my expectations.”

Others were in attendance purely for the spectacle. The play features extensive special effects that required new technology to achieve.

“We’ve built something called a ‘flare gun’,” Reginald le Plante, special effects coordinator for the show, said. “It’s a crucial part of the climax, where our hero grows in size and lays waste to the enemy armies. The audience is in for a real treat!”

Rumors about the safety of this technology have been swirling for months. When asked if there was any validity to the rumor that the actor playing the wizard had been replaced three times due to burns, le Plante refused to comment. As usual, director and writer Delando could not be reached for comment.

In any case, the first performance last night went without a hitch, though audience members leaving the theatre did report the smell of sulfur hanging in the air, and of burning eyes.

“It was like I was really there!” one enthusiastic fan said.

***

Blackwood Gazette #2-Klankenvroot Industries Reveals Plans for Commercial Planar Wing Transport

10/4/280 YT-Since the end of the Crowndon-Nor Eastern war, wealthy industrialists have been searching for a way to make Planar Wing Aircraft, or P.W.A.s for short, a viable source of income. So far, all of these endeavors have ended in tragedy.

“The weight a commerical aeroplane[sic] would likely need to carry, versus the weight of the constructed materials and Blackwood needed to keep the craft aloft, don’t equalize into a workable solution,” said Samson Davies, a well known detractor when it comes to commercial P.W.A.s. “They always end up tearing themselves apart upon take off or landing or whenever they hit turbulence. The cost of life so far has been unacceptable!”

Industrialist Ivan Klankenvroot responded quickly to Davies.

“Nonsense! We’re charting the course of human civilization, here, plotting our progress for the next one hundred years! No human cost now is too high compared to the benefits future generations will enjoy.”

When asked if he would be aboard the maiden flight of his commercial P.W.A., slated to be called the Heisenberg, Klankenvroot chuckled.

“Of course not,” he said. “I’m much too humble for that. That honor lies on the heads of the engineers and the workers putting the thing together. They should enjoy the fruits of their labor, after all.”

Blackwood Gazette #1&2: “Fires of D’Kalm D’Korr Opens” & “Klankenvroot Announces New Commercial Aircraft”

Blackwood Gazette #107: Venue Review- The New Empress Theatre

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

24/4-I recently had the honor of attending the grand opening of the New Empress Theatre in Oeil de Fleur, and while the show I attended, “Fires of D’kalm D’korr” is still the same steaming pile of popular garbage that it was last year, I am happy to report that the venue is better than ever.

The first thing I noticed was that, despite being built on the same lot and constructed to roughly the same size, the new theatre is a veritable cavern compared to the old. The previous Empress theatre had a lower roof to accommodate an attic for the storage of props. This new build features a two level basement, allowing the auditorium to extend to all the way to roof level. Likewise, dressing rooms and management offices have been moved underground as well, allowing a larger stage to allow for more dynamic sets and larger casts.

The play itself, while still terrible in terms of its subject matter, used this extra space to increase its spectacle. The larger stage allowed for more impressive battle scenes, and new lighting rigs both on stage and throughout the auditorium immersed the audience during Hostander Alleroy’s nighttime soliloquy in the second act. Unfortunately, I fear these technological advances will only endorse more vapid spectacle in the future, rather than good storytelling. Still, I have hopes that with the right playwright and director, this extra space and lighting could be employed to riveting effect.

The seating, likewise, has undergone a major improvement. Seats on the floor are now arranged in a semi-circle around the stage, similar to the concert hall in Yves, so that even attendees on the outer edges get a good view of the stage. Balcony seating is constructed similarly, and the higher ceiling offers a third row. The seats have all been upholstered using soft leather, ensuring greater longevity and a decreased chance of spreading lice, I am told. I heard others grumbling about discomfort, and the noise of people shifting their weight (at one point, such shifting resulted in a noise not unlike flatulence, disrupting what I am told is meant to be a key emotional beat) but I had no such complaints.

All in all, I had an enjoyable experience. The new theatre is beautifully constructed, both inside and out, and I found much amusement during intermission and after the play, picking apart its short comings with my fellow critics. The only blight on the evening was the protest outside, deriding Delando for his deception aboard the Heisenberg. I would have joined them, but for entirely different reasons.

Blackwood Gazette #107: Venue Review- The New Empress Theatre

Blackwood Gazette #56- Delando’s Next Play to be Filmed

by Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

15/8- The theatrical world is abuzz today with the news that Delando’s next play, the follow up to the controversial and critically acclaimed “Fires of D’Kalm D’korr”, will be committed to film and shown on kinetic viewers every where.

“Delando is excited about the possibilities new technologies unlock in his ability to tell stories,” said the reclusive playwright’s representatives. “The flare guns used in ‘Fires’ demonstrated that, and the use of film to give audiences a more focused view framed by Delando himself reenforces it. Everyone who watches the show on kinetics will have the same viewing experience…no need to fight for good seats.”

The play, which is as yet untitled, will be filmed over the course of its first year on stage. The performances will then be constructed into a single, cohesive whole.

Not everyone is excited about it, however.

“This is an aberration!” said one theater goer. “It is a contamination of the purity of the art form. Theater is meant to be enjoyed live, as though the audience is a part of the experience. This travesty, this…’film’ as they call it…it’s a separation of viewer and performance. It should not be allowed, and Delando should be expelled from the Academy of Theatrical Arts and blacklisted in the community for such insolence! How dare he think he can change hundreds of years of story telling tradition!”

Theater owners, as well, have their reservations. Namely Patrice Chadeau, the owner of the theater the filming is meant to take place in.

“I agreed to it, but make no mistake, it is a huge risk,” Chadeau said. “It means I will have to rent the main stage to one show for the entirety of the year. Not even Delando can sustain that kind of audience, though I’m hoping the novelty of it all may bring in an audience. And what happens if a performer gets ill, or dies, or some other tragic thing? In any case, Delando’s people brought me a wagon load of gold. It’s locked up in the warehouse, if you want to see it.”

Blackwood Gazette #56- Delando’s Next Play to be Filmed