IFcomp 2016: Theatre People

Next in line: “Theatre People”, in which we are a junior stage technician on a quest to make sure the show does go on.

“Theatre People” is a fairly simple game about negotiating backstage theatre politics to get the show on the road. By “simple”, I mean that the design and implementation is functional and workmanlike, with very few pyrotechnics thrown in. Really, there’s just the one “quest”, to fix the curtain so it will actually go up. Kind of apropos, if you think about it. There is also a side quest involving the lead actress, which is optional.

There are quite a lot of characters, as one might expect. They are quite lightly sketched, and seem to have little depth beyond their function. One doesn’t really develop much of a feel for them. As for the personality of our hero, that is conveyed entirely by the narrative prose. There’s some humour there: our hero does have attitude, but this attitude does not seem to extend very far beyond mild amusement or mild annoyance. It’s a gentle humour, just bordering on sarcasm but without the hard edge of cynicism to achieve it.

I described the implementation earlier as “functional and workmanlike”. It’s competent; one might even call it “safe”. However, I should add that the overall design does seem to speak of some familiarity with the setting. If the author is merely writing what they know in order to get a feel for the system, then they have picked a very good area of personal knowledge in which to practice. One hopes that the author’s next work will explore this world in greater detail.

It’s toast and fig jam for breakfast: it does the job and it seems pretty basic, but … fig jam? You don’t get that every day at your local supermarket, do you? And the coffee may be run-of-the-mill, but it’s competently brewed. One feels as though the hand behind the breakfast might be either holding back, or held back by something.

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