The most popular theatre in Teleleli, and therefore in the known world. Many come to Teleleli hoping to make a career on the stage. Successful examples include the troll Hugh Granite and the genie I. Dreamov.
The Telelelene stage is divided into three rows. In the back row stand the gods and ancestor-spirits. They are represented by stylised paintings, with the actors offstage and unseen. The actors speak in verse. Plays always begin with an introduction from the gods. The middle row is for heroic characters. The actors stand onstage and, like the gods, speak in verse. They stand elevated from the front row, which is for comic characters who speak in everyday speech.
The gods are understood to be able to see the action in the front and middle rows, whereas the front and middle rows can’t see them or each other. The middle and front row are understood to represent scenes happening at different times or places. Often the dialogue in the two rows alternates, with the front row characters comically or tragically undermining the middle row.
Plays usually take place ‘in the time of the Great Race’. However virtually nothing is known about the Great Race, and plays often comment on current events.
Apprentices begin as comic characters, then become journeymen and portray heroic characters, and finally masters of their craft and play the gods. This has caused some resentment and conflict when comic or heroic actors become popular, or when an actor finds themself better suited to a role from which they have been promoted.
Since the place is as much devoted to social gatherings as to the arts the more expensive tickets are boxes, elevated so that the entire audience can see one, and the very prizest seats are on the stage itself.
The theatre is a centre of prostitution. Well-known prostitutes include the gigilos Michael Morecock, Onan the Barbarian and Lance Dragon.
Stage-hand is a traditional occupation for out of work or retired ninjas. This is why stagehands dress in black ninja garb.
One play, The King In Yellow, was closed down after it drove all who saw it mad. The critics raved.
It is sometimes whispered that the ‘goat’s dance’ refers to the twisting of one who is hanged as a sacrifice; a human sacrifice being called a ‘goat without horns’. Whether this is coincidence, or points to a sinister connection, I do not know.