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The Crownless King
Bar Harbor
The other major show of the weekend was The Crownless King, the middle play of an epic fantasy trilogy. It's an odd mix of influences, including lots of previous epic fantasy, but also riffing on early United States history. Near as I can tell, it was inspired by the authors having a problem with the inherent monarchial bias inherent in the typical "orphan boy turns out to be the lost One True Heir to the throne" story. So they set out to tell something that seems to be exactly that, but ends up subverting the tropes in multiple ways.

While the Orphan/King is the protagonist, the true struggle of the story is between the multiple Storytellers (i.e. Wizards) who are attempting to define his life. Instead of the traditional Good/Evil dichotomy, the two main forces here could perhaps be characterized as Authoritarian / Democratic. Audience sympathies shift over the course of the first two plays, and I don't know where it'll end up in the third part. But I was sufficiently entertained and intrigued that I want to see it next year!

Good acting and costuming. Brilliant lighting, sound design, and puppetry (ranging from tiny, delicate birds, up to an enormous f-ing dragon!). Best use of Chess metaphors I've seen in years.

Sadly, the performance we were at was closing night, so I can't usefully recommend you go see it. But if you're intrigued, the link above has lots more info, including a downloadable pdf of the script for Part 1.


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