Folio Fools

In the quest for well-rounded individuals, the College encourages students to spend time outside of formal studies. Many groups on campus provide extracurricular activities, from debating to gaming, and from meditation to sports. One of the oldest groups on campus dedicated itself to writing, producing, and staging dramatic productions: the Folio Fools.

Illusionists overwhelmingly make up the membership of the Folio Fools with their penchant for creating images, lights, and noises (and the offered class credit for participation doesn't hurt either), followed by members of the Lorekeepers with their well-honed skills in performance. Members of every wizard school get involved at some point, as the group stages four major productions every year, plus a variable number of more intimate evenings of one-act plays, performed poetry (slam nights are gaining in popularity lately), or staged readings of works in progress. Major works usually appear for two weeks on the Lecture Hall Stage in the Philosopher's Stone at the Lakeside end of Undercampus. They have performed on this stage since the Philosopher's Stone opened, so the green room and basement storage areas overflow with set pieces, props, and costumes accrued over decades of shows.

Stories abound about inadvertent property damage in past shows caused by overzealous effects and students pushing the envelope past the point of sensibility. The Folio Fools have implemented a stricter safety standard about 20 years ago and worked out the logistics with the Divinity Sanctum. Every show's budget must provide enough cash to hire a cleric to remain on hand during tech week and performances with healing, silence, and create water to cover most emergencies. The list of needed preventative magic grows with each new unforeseen accident.

Campus groups require a faculty advisor, though certain allowances needed to be made for Terry Duncan to take on that role. Twenty-three years ago he took the unpaid (and fabricated) position of Technical Advisor to the Campus Constabulary so he could advise the Folio Fools. As the current Deputy Commander of the Watch Reserves in Fellport, he has more than enough responsibilities in his day job, but he still wanders over to Cap Central occasionally to see if he can help them out at all. He's a mercurial spirit, never directing the same show twice, and always encouraging "his kids" to take chances by going ever-bigger with dazzling effects, challenging staging, and taking emotional chances.

The latest student-written production Sun Rises over Chestnut Tree tells the (heavily embellished) story of the Penny Chestnut growing in Sendai and its transplantation to Fellport. It splits stage time between character dialogue and realistic action, and the music and dance of traditional Kabuki from the far-distant Yamagura Empire. This show is a joint production between the Folio Fools and the Lorekeepers. Playwright Rufus MacTavish and director Yaz Mori collaborated to make Sun Rises Over Chestnut Tree their final project for graduation from the Lorekeepers, and many scholars anxiously await opening night later this fall.

The spring show usually consists of a week-long festival of smaller shows written by the community, called FolioFest. Anyone on campus (or beyond) can submit a play about any topic, though comedies traditionally have an easier time getting accepted. The selection process involves a team of student dramaturgs headed by the advisor Terry Duncan reading everything and providing feedback to the playwrights. Students volunteer to direct and stage manage the shows, leading to a widely-publicized week of auditions. More than once a local bard has submitted a show to FolioFest and gotten much-needed recognition to start their careers.

Shows typically run on shoestring budgets, with starving students substituting time and enthusiasm for money. That said, the School of Illusionism gives class credit for anyone participating in shows, so the effects typically blow the socks off of the audience. Many rich benefactors from Topside Row typically enjoy shows, and sometimes they buy scripts to stage at the Grand Odeon. Hopes run high that at least one investor may fund Sun Rises Over Chestnut Tree, taking it to the next level with an influx of cash. This may require MacTavish and Mori to lead a traveling cast around the region, and possibly across the broad expanse of Okular into the Yamagura Empire itself. Here's hoping their research on a far-distant culture's history and traditions rings true.

Part of T.W.Wombat's Lore 24 project, detailing the world around Fellport.
For all city posts, see the Fellport Index. For posts about the wider world, see the Beneterra Index.

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