Flashback Sequins and Slavegirls

Quite by accident, Adelaide finds herself helping out in the Lightshow Theatre's costume department.

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Sequins and Slavegirls

Postby Adelaide Sitai on July 3rd, 2014, 5:50 pm

24th Autumn 508AV
Eleventh Bell


The walk from the Quill’s Rest to the Lightshow Theatre took longer than Adelaide had intended. The final draft of her script tucked under her arm, she wound her way through the Old Quarter, down old rickety alleys and under antique sign posts. Up ahead, she saw a clock indicating the beginning of the eleventh bell and Adelaide knew that she was already too late, that she had missed her appointment. Why the hell hadn’t she left when she intended instead of letting Gideon talk her into yet another drink? Petch! Petch it all and petch Gideon!
Adelaide ran as fast as she could, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long and that she was already out of breath. By the time she saw the sign to the Lightshow Theatre looming at the end of the road, she had slowed to a brisk walk, panting slightly. Being this unfit pained her and it was with sweat patches lacing her underarms and back that she entered the Lightshow Theatre. It was cool and dark inside and completely silent, so much so that Adelaide wondered if she had gone to the wrong place when suddenly she heard shouting. Moving towards the sound of the voice, she perceived a man and a woman.

“Good morning?” she said, uncertainly, wondering what the commotion could be about.

“This is a petching catastrophe Beatrice. I told you! I told you!” The man had his arms raised and looked exasperated.

“I told you we should never have put on the damn thing. You didn’t listen to me.” The woman sniffed slightly, lifting her chin.

“I’m sorry, but can you help me?” Adelaide asked, interrupting the couple.

The man looked at her, affronted, “What?”

“I have an appointment about a play I wrote.”

“Come back tomorrow.”


Adelaide was about to argue but, noting the ire in the man’s voice, thought better of it. If she was ever to have any luck of having a play of hers put on, she would have to wait. She started walking back the way she came, back towards the door.

“Wait! Come back!” Adelaide turned around as the man addressed her, “Can you sew?” The man seemed furious and Adelaide bridled slightly. As if she hadn’t heard him, or had some sort of mental issue, he repeated, purposefully slow and sarcastic, “Can. You. Sew?!”

Adelaide, realising that holding back from giving him an answer was not a wise choice, nodded, “Yes. Yes, sort of, fairly well.”

“Good.”
He seemed to calm down, and then placed his head in his hands, rubbing his eyes, “I’m sorry, but this is urgent.” He tossed her a gold miza which, quite to her surprise since her hand-eye coordination was poor to say the least, she caught deftly in her right hand. He continued, “Beatrice, take her to the costume department. Get her to work finishing the dresses for the ghosts. And quick! Quick!” With that, the man strode off.

“But.. my play!” Adelaide called after him. He didn’t turn around and Adelaide was left, completely confused, with the young woman called Beatrice, “Is it always like this around here?”

Beatrice shrugged and started walking in a different direction, indicating that Adelaide should follow her, “Not always but let’s just say that John has an artistic temperament and we currently have a shortage of hands in the costume department. On top of that, Agnes seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth.” she sighed, “Thank God I’m not involved in this production."

“Oh.”

“The Princess and the Captain. It’s an Opera, of sorts, and this is the third time the Lightshow Theatre is attempting to put it on. The first attempt never got off the ground. The second attempt didn’t last longer than the opening night. This time, John is determined that it should be a success. It’s the only production that has ever given us this sort of trouble and, well, I told him to just forget about it. I swear it’s cursed. This way.”
They started winding their way down some stone steps.

“What about my play?” Asked Adelaide quietly.

“Hmm… Oh, well, if you give it to me, I’ll try and take the time to read it. Don’t be so reluctant. I promise to give it back to you in one piece. Who knows? If it impresses me, I’ll give it to Mr Tawn. John, that is.”

They emerged into a large room with high stone walls, lit up by a few windows high on the walls which projected sunlight down onto what appeared to be a costume come technical department. For a second, Adelaide didn’t see the chaos but rather just how magical everything seemed to be. She had been backstage in theatres before but they seemed so small and sparse in comparison. Here, Adelaide felt like she had gone through a portal into a magical world where sea monsters twirled around the bottom of ivory towers and where a young man dressed all in black, as a Prince, was interceding in an argument between an older man, who was evidently a ghost in a suit of armour, and a woman dressed as a squirrel. In one corner, a craftsman was adding the finishing touches to the front half of a schooner, crowned with a pirate flag.

“Get out of the way human!” yelled a tiny voice.

“Petch!” cursed another.

Adelaide looked down at her feet to see two Pycons, one shaped like a tiny donkey balancing on its hind legs, the other like a miniature woman, carrying a longsword between them.

“Oh. Sorry.” she said, stepping to the side with a bemused expression then raising her eyebrows at Beatrice’s laughter, “What?”

“Diggleby and Hornwell. They’re brothers.”

“Brothers? But one of them was a…”

“Yeah. Don’t worry about it. I made that expression when I first met them too. Pycons are funny creatures, aren’t they? But we’re very lucky to have a couple employed by the Theatre - they’re very useful to the technical crew, or when you want to make something look like it’s moving on its own.”
she paused, and walked between two artificial pillars, “Now, this section is the costume department. If you go and talk to Elsa,” she indicated a tall, imposing woman with raven hair pulled into a tight bun, wearing huge hoop earrings, “She’ll be very happy to make your acquaintance.”

“Aren’t you going to introduce…?”
started Adelaide, but already Beatrice had turned on her heel and disappeared.


Last edited by Adelaide Sitai on July 3rd, 2014, 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sequins and Slavegirls

Postby Adelaide Sitai on July 3rd, 2014, 6:13 pm

24th Autumn 508AV


Adelaide sighed lightly. She was supposed to be meeting with Gideon and one of her lecturers for Lunch, but now had the feeling that she couldn’t get out of helping them. Not only because she was hoping that one day they’d perform one of her plays and because she’d already been paid for it, but also because she sensed their trouble and wanted to help. There was nothing quite like the Theatre.

“Hello.” She said, going over to the raven-haired woman, “I'm…”

“You’re late.”

“Sorry?”

“Hanna Lintott, right? You were supposed to be here over three hours ago.”
The woman had a very boisterous, low and masculine voice, quite harsh.

“Oh no. My name is Adelaide. I can sew so Mr Tawn suggested I come and help you.”

“Oh, sorry dear. Yes, thank you. Um…”
she looked slightly put out and looked around her wildly, “Yes. Can you sew on sequins?”

“Yes. Of course. I mean, I haven’t any experience doing so, but I’m sure I know the technique well enough.”

“Then go and help with the costumes for the slave girls. Go! Chop Chop!”


Still completely perplexed by everything that was going on around her, Adelaide went over to a table occupied by two old women with needles. Without saying a word, one of them threw a pair of purple harem pants and a matching top at her, then indicated a chair. Adelaide sat down.

“You ‘ave to sew on the sequins aroun’ the chest ‘nd then, y’know, aroun’ the ankles ‘nd waist-band. If you’re doin’ a purple, red or green costume, you sew on gold sequins. If you’re doin’ a yellow, pink or blue costume, you sew on silver. Got it?”

Adelaide nodded and picked up the items she needed from the table - a needle, some gold and silver thread and a little box full of hundreds of sequins.

“Don’t dawdle. We’ve go’ anot’er twelve to do ‘nd then we ‘ave to get the girls into ‘em, what might require pinnin’, ‘nd then Elsa might want you to ‘elp ‘er with summat else. We’ve go’ seven bells left before the performance starts, ‘nd five bells before the girls come in, expectin’ their costumes t’be ready.”

Therein started a long afternoon. Prompted by the amount of costumes to sew sequins onto, Adelaide elected to use a simple overlap stitch. She brought the needle up through the silky purple fabric, that couldn’t have been actual silk, and strung one sequin. Then she took the needle back down through the fabric, in the area just beside the sequin, and thus stitching one side of the sequin down, before pulling the needle back up very close to the edge. One sequin done - Izurdin only knew how many left to do. Adelaide repeated the process, stringing another sequin through the center and making the motion for a second time. She made sure that the Sequins overlapped, knowing that the overlap would cover her stitches and hide the thread. Not that it mattered, she supposed, for who in the audience would see the thread at that distance anyway?
One bell later, Adelaide had only managed to complete the top half of a costume during which time the old ladies had done one whole costume each. ‘How on earth had they managed it?’, wondered Adelaide, picking up speed. Still, even if she went at their speed, it wasn’t certain that they would finish on time. Hang being neat, she thought, the most important thing was that it looked good from an audience perspective - covering her stitches had suddenly become a very secondary concern. Another bell passed, and they still had eight costumes left to do. Two bells until the girls arrived and they were down to five. One bell left to go and one of the old women had gotten a cramp in her right hand. She sewed with her left, but far more slowly. Twenty minutes before the actresses were due to arrive, they still had three slave girl costumes which would be left to do. Adelaide sighed and tried to pick up speed but her hand was tired and she knew that the slave girl costumes wouldn’t be finished on time. Desperate times called for desperate measure so, determined, Adelaide stood up and went over to talk with Elsa. She came back with a pot of glue.

“What ‘re you doin’?” One of the old women croaked, looking aghast as Adelaide started spreading the glue all over the chest piece of one of the blue costumes. Adelaide didn’t answer and continued spreading the glue evenly before tipping the entire box of silver sequins over the fabric.

“Sewing them on will take too long,” she said by way of an explanation, “The actresses will be here is ten minutes.”

Adelaide pressed the sequins gently on to the fabric, evening everything out, then put the top to the side. She picked up a pair of harem pants and did the same, generously applying glue around the waistband followed by the ankles. Using this technique, it took her less than five minutes per costume. Yes, the sequins might not stay on and Adelaide realised that the old women would probably have to redo the last three costumes for tomorrow’s performance but, this way, at least everyone would go on stage looking the way they were supposed to. There were just times when sewing was too slow.

By the time that the first girl, who presented herself as Kristin, arrived, Adelaide had only half a costume left to do and was quickly able to finish. She smiled at the young actress.

“Which one is yours?”

“The smaller and slightly lighter of the two pink ones. The darker one belongs to Raja.”

“Of course.”
Adelaide handed the costume over to Kristin, who smiled and slipped into it.

“Usually, we put on the costumes last, after doing our hair and makeup, but because of the arms, it’s easier to get this over and done with.”

“Arms?”
asked Adelaide blankly.

“Oh yes. Didn’t you know? We’re playing Eypharian slave girls. We have to wear these strange, fake arms, made out of wood. It’s crazy because they’re flat so it means we have to avoid turning our backs to the audience at all costs in order to maintain the illusion.”

“Oh.”
Why couldn't she stop saying 'Oh'?

“I’m a dancer, you know.” Kristin continued, evidently eager to chat, “Of course, I’m trained to be an actress but that can be a hard business. Just ask Raja.”

“Raja?

“Well yes. She’s an actual, real life, Eypharian. Obviously, that makes her the most important slave girl. She can do all these amazing tricks.”

“I thought this was an Opera?”

“Of course and I have to sing too, but not much. We’re really just for atmosphere.”
she paused, “Speaking of singing, has Agnes showed up?”

“I don’t know.”

“Hmm. Well if you ask me, she’s awfully old to be playing a beautiful eighteen year old princess anyway. She’s thirty-four. And she looks it. By the way, this feels a bit loose at the back. Could you pin it?”


Adelaide nodded and stuck a couple of needles in.

“But that’s always the way, isn’t it?” said the young woman with a dramatic sigh, “If you ask me, they’re just really scared of competition. The same people always get the good parts. Beatrice is the worst. She can’t even act for goodness sake! I’m sure if I were sleeping with John, I’d get all the best parts too.”

“Are they a couple?”

“Of sorts. It’s all on and off. John likes to get around. Come to think of it, I’m one of the very few young actresses that he hasn’t slept with, so maybe my theory isn’t completely fair. Still, she’s not that great an actress."


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Sequins and Slavegirls

Postby Adelaide Sitai on July 3rd, 2014, 6:22 pm

24th Autumn 508AV


Adelaide couldn’t help but smile. It was all so typical of what she’d heard about these sort of reputable Theatres. They functioned within an entire world of their own. They had their own hierarchy, their own politics and their own levels of competition. The arrival of the other slave girls allowed Adelaide to see that perfectly well. Every line someone had increased their status as did their placement on the stage. If you were at the front, in centre stage, then your time was coming. If you were placed on the second row on stage left, then you had to fight to draw everyone’s attention without disrupting the play. And, of course, if you were placed behind a tree then it was the worst thing imaginable.

“Excuse me. Would you mind sewing on some more sequins?”

Adelaide looked up at a beautiful young eypharian woman with six arms in a pink costume. She spoke with a pretty, if rather guttural accent, all rolling Rs and elongated vowels.

“You look to have enough.”

"Please. Just a few more.”


Seeing the woman’s doleful face, Adelaide nodded and went to get her needle and the box of sequins. She knelt down by the woman’s side and proceeded to weaving her needle quickly in and out of the silky pink fabric, threading sequins. One more sequin. Two more sequins. Three more. Four more. Five. Six.

“You’re Raja, aren’t you? Why does it matter anyway?”

The woman nodded. “This is the first proper part I’ve ever had. I’d just like to stand out,” Raja paused then, as if bursting to tell her story, “You see, I arrived in Zeltiva from Ahnatep about two years ago, sure that I would find a part easily enough. I signed up to an Acting course at the University and even paid for private lessons. Unfortunately, a year and a half passed and, in spite of countless auditions, I still hadn’t got anything save a few unpaid parts in university productions. I was running out of money fast and didn’t have enough left to go home. I didn’t want to give up on my dream either. You know,” the girl stopped, before adding quietly, “This was a godsend. The day I auditioned for this, my landlord had been making suggestions of what I could do for him, or rather to him, since I couldn’t pay my rent. I was strongly considering accepting his offer, and probably other offers of the sort. This has allowed me to pay off what I owed, though I admit I’m not exactly set for the future.”

Adelaide smiled sadly at the young woman, “Aren’t you trained to do anything else?”

“I can’t even read or write. I’m pretty good at embalming but nowhere was hiring, especially not somebody who was illiterate.”


A little while later, Adelaide had finished sewing on the extra sequins. Although she was sure that Raja’s wasn’t the only hard luck story she’d be able to find in the Theatre, it had struck a chord with her and she was pleased to help, if only a little. The two had continued chatting merrily and Adelaide was happy to realise that they had a lot in common. After a hesitation, she asked, “Do you still need somewhere to stay?”

Raja nodded sadly, “Yes, but I’m sure I’ll find somewhere.”

“I’m staying with a friend of mine, Gideon. We have a spare room and he’s really hospitable. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you stayed with us. At least until you sort yourself out. I’ll just write down the address. I know you can’t read, but you’ll be able to show it to people and ask for directions.”


Just before Midnight


The show was over and it had been a roaring success. Three hours of quality entertainment. One bell before curtain up, Agnes Fotheringhay had shown up to announce that she was retiring. Half a bell before curtain up, John Tawn had convinced her otherwise and Adelaide had found herself pinning the great diva into six foot of gold satin. Five minutes before curtain up, one of the slave girls’ arms fell off and had to be sewn back on with a thick red thread completely unsuited to the blue fabric. Then the curtain went up and a fantastic adventure with a myriad of strange creatures ensued on stage. It was the story of a romance between a Svefran Captain and a Princess from a far off land and, in spite of the princess’s age and the Captain’s belly, Adelaide soon found herself believing in the romantic story of the two young, beautiful people bound together by fate. The slave girls outfits looked perfect and when the curtain went down at the end of the evening, Adelaide found herself cheering and clapping as loudly as any member of the audience.

Adelaide didn’t stay long for the after-party, as much as she had wanted to. During the day, she had completely forgotten that Gideon would probably be wondering why she’d missed Lunch, but now she realised that he’d be worrying that she wasn’t home yet. She made her goodbyes to everyone, was convinced by Kristin to audition for their next production and gathered up her belongings.
On the way out of the Theatre, she crossed Beatrice who was holding her manuscript. Quietly, the young woman handed it back to her.

“Thank you for your help today, but I don’t think this is quite right for us. It’s a little simple and I feel you needed more drama. Keep practising though. Maybe someday, you’ll come up with something.”

And that was that. Adelaide left the Theatre and started the long walk home. Strangely enough, she didn’t feel as saddened by the rejection as she’d expected it to be. If today had taught her anything then it was to keep trying. No matter what.
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Sequins and Slavegirls

Postby Aoren on July 13th, 2014, 3:42 pm

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Adelaide Sitai
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Running +1 EXP
Socialization +3 EXP
Sewing +2 EXP
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Lores
➢ Location: The Lightshow Theatre
➢ Beatrice Lanky: Lightshow Actress
➢ John Tawn: Lightshow Director
➢ The Princess and The Captain: Cursed Play?
➢ Diggleby and Hornwell: Pycon Brothers At The Theatre
➢ Sewing: Overlap Stitch
➢ Sewing: How To Properly Attach Sequins To A Garment
➢ Glue: Temporary Fixer-Up’r
➢ The Hierarchy of a Theatre
➢ Raja: Future Eypharian Roommate
➢ Moral Conviction: Never Give Up


Comments
What a wonderful and entertaining read! I thoroughly enjoyed this thread. It is a great depiction of things that can happen in the everyday life of actors, actresses and the drama that goes on not just on-stage but behind it as well. Thank you for this!


If you have comments, questions or concerns please approach me at your earliest convenience. Don't forget to edit/delete your request in the request thread!
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