The Turathi Theatre
As evidenced by the existence of fencers-at-law, the Turathi people love a show, and so it is perhaps only natural that they have a great love of the arts. Theatre in particular is beloved by the commoners and nobility alike, but not just for the drama on stage. The Turathi have a political theatre in a very literal sense. Every Great House and many Minor Houses have playwrights in their employ. These playwrights use their craft to sway public opinion against the their employers’ rivals. In its lowest form, this takes shape as simple propaganda, but the greatest Playwrights are subtle and eloquent to the degree that an audience will think it has drawn the intended parallels and conclusions of its own cleverness.
The great playhouses are located dominantly in the capital, and are run exclusively for profit, meaning they are neutral territory, and generally employ in-house acting troupes, though there are a few traveling bands. So the actors of a playhouse might present a play glorifying a house one night, and perform one that excoriates it the next. Of course, the official neutrality of the acting troupes and the playhouses is not enforced by law, so the correctly placed bribes might convince an actor to ‘forget’ his lines or fall ill the night of a big performance. However, such cases are relatively rare since an actor who is known to be in the pocket of a particular House is likely to be kicked out of his troupe, and a playhouse which takes bribes from a Great House might find itself with fewer plays to perform.
Though the lower classes have no official seat on the Council of Rulers, their influence is felt and the Houses with the greatest support from the masses can use the voice of the mob to get its agenda pushed through. Thus, the ability to sway public opinion is prized. Perhaps more interesting than the fact that the Houses use the stage in this way is the fact that many of the members of the commons know it and don’t mind. Many of better-off commoners come to the theatre not just for the acting and stories, but to see what barbs the Houses are throwing at one another.
[Coming soon: Notable Playwrights]