At about 14 years of age, Tooblan (pronounced to͞o·blăn) joined a theater troupe in his home village. At about 17, a wandering troupe performed in his village, and he left his old troupe to begin travelling with the other one. Mostly this wandering troupe would perform plays written by various Landian playwrights of both past and present, as well as a few plays from other worlds, including some by famous Terran playwright William Shakespeare. However, each year the troupe would have a competition wherein any of its actors could write their own original play, and the whole troupe would vote on their favorite. After that, the winning play would be performed, free of charge, for a general audience. Tooblan was with this troupe for about four years, and each year he submitted a play. It wasn't until 584 that one of his plays (the historical fiction Gallen II) won the competition. In fact, it was so popular with the audience that the troupe began performing it for their regular admission fee, for audiences around the world. (Years later, after Tooblan became famous, there was some interest in his "lost plays," the losing entries from his first three years in the troupe. However, he had thrown each one away immediately after each contest, and refused to attempt rewriting them, saying that if they'd been any good, they wouldn't have lost. Some of the actors from his old troupe who had read the plays would later recall bits and pieces, for anyone who inquired; however, it's not known how much of what they said was true, and how much they either made up as a jest, or misremembered.)
Throughout the year after his first winning play, he spent most of his free time working on his second play (or rather, his second surviving play). However, he refused to enter it in his troupe's competition in 585. Instead, he took a job with a theater troupe in Sorret, which hired him to be both an actor and a regular playwright. He spent four years with that troupe, during which time he wrote several of his most famous plays. (It is worth noting that because of Tooblan's association with Sorret, in the centuries since his time it has not been uncommon for Sorreters, after graduating to adept status, to either visit or move to Toobay, out of curiosity about the home village of the man who helped popularize their own village in some of his plays. This trend has only increased in the years since the establishment of the Second Order in 904; in fact, Toobay quite possibly is home to the second most Sorreters of any village on the Land.) Tooblan left Sorret in 589, to work as a free agent, acting with and writing for various wandering and local troupes around the world. In 594, he gathered a number of the best actors he'd worked with in various troupes over the years, and founded his own troupe, the Tooblan Company, which exclusively performed Tooblanean plays. They toured the world, until 599, when the Tooblan Theater was built for them in Toobay. After that, the Tooblan Company would give most of their performances there, though they would still occasionally travel to other villages to perform. This is a tradition which exists to this very day, carried on by each successive group of actors to bear the name "Tooblan Company."
People on the Land know of various literary works from other worlds because of information provided to spirit-talkers by spirits. This is how some of the works of Shakespeare came to be known on the Land, and it's believed that acting in some of Shakespeare's plays early in Tooblan's career accounted for much of the inspiration in writing his own plays. In fact, it has always been common for fans of Tooblan to compare him to Shakespeare, in large part because of the thematic elements of many of his plays. His actual writing style is largely different from Shakespeare's, partly because of the difference in the speaking styles of each writer. The language of Shakespeare's time was Elizabethan English, which was rather archaic by the time the Land was created, in the year that on Earth would be called 1997 (Shakespeare's works were written in Earth's 1590s to early 1600s). It's interesting to note that while speech tends to evolve over extended periods on worlds like Earth, it's remained largely unchanged on the Land (aside from occasional additions of native slang and alien subwords) since our world was created over nine centuries ago. Our style of speech is fairly similar to the English that was spoken on Earth when the Land was created. (Mostly it is American English, but there are a few bits from the United Kingdom.) It's natural, therefore, that Tooblan's writing was in a Landian voice rather than an Elizabethan one. In fact, he occasionally made an obvious effort to distance himself from Shakespeare in the subject matter of some of his plays, including both uniquely Landian stories and even the occasional science fiction, of a type more consistent with Earth writers such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, or C.S. Lewis. However, Tooblan did choose to poke fun of the public's comparisons between himself and Shakespeare in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Speaking Contest, in which many of the characters engage in a style of speech which approximates the Elizabethan English of Shakespeare's own plays. (This play is often cited as one of Roderick's inspirations in the creation of elves; another play, The Tempestuous One, is likewise cited as one of Eric's inspirations in the creation of merfolk. The latter play is thought to have been influenced by both Shakespeare and another Terran writer, Hans Christian Andersen.) It should also be noted that unlike Shakespeare, Tooblan was not a poet. But while his plays were mostly more straightforward and unadorned than those of Shakespeare, Tooblan has always been considered a master at appealing to both the hearts and minds of his audiences, in his tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies, and epics.
List of playsEdit
Tooblan wrote 50 surviving plays throughout his career. This is a partial list, in chronological order:
- Gallen II (584)
- The Tempestuous One (587)
- High Spirits (594)
- A Midsummer Night's Speaking Contest (596)
- Play Ball! (597)
- The Comedy of Trajus (612)