An Unknown Armies 3 love story, performed with extras in contemporary England.
This story begins in Lower Barton, a small English market town not far from Stratford-upon-Avon, home of the legendary playwright William Shakespeare.
The key players are all members of the Lower Barton Amateur Dramatics Society:
- Jason Riggs – ex-Navy chef turned restaurateur, a tad ruthless
- Jeremy Goose – petty fraudster skilled in the art of coincidence magick
- Nicholas Brooke – book collector, volunteer librarian and fan of Elizabethan theatre
- Marco ‘Mac’ Fubini – amateur theatre director and ‘King of the Road’
They are on a mission to piece together a complete version of what they believe to be the final lost play of Shakespeare, and to perform it for your cultural pleasure.
A few weeks before we join proceedings, the group have happened upon a folio in the Lower Barton Library Theatre. One of the oldest municipal buildings in the small town, the venue is where the drama society rehearse and perform. It also houses a museum of theatrical miscellany, including costumes, props and a selection of Elizabethan books and plays – many from the personal depository of Nicholas Brooke, local book collector, Renaissance specialist, library volunteer and member of the drama society.
The folio contained most of the manuscript for a play called The Company of Man. It bore all the hallmarks of late Shakespearean texts, but dialled up to a level of intensity that even Brooke had not previously seen. The power of the writing became palpable when the group performed their first reading of the play together. The effect was unnerving and intoxicating.
With that reading, something between them shifted. In that moment, their collective bond grew strong. They became a cabal – a group bound together, obsessed with a new sense of purpose, and a commitment to recover the entirety of the play and to perform in front of an audience in the manner it deserves.
Stranger things begin to happen to the players in the days following, as they go about their preparations.
The society’s director and lead performer, Marco ‘Mac’ Fubini, exudes a new magnetism. Beggars start calling him “Sire” as he passes them in the streets. The local wildlife seem to nod their heads in deference as he patrols the local roads on his accident recovery runs. Sometimes it even feels like they’re talking to him. Within a couple of weeks, he finds himself increasingly the object of local adoration. With that, he also attracts the unwanted attention of a masked assassin. Miraculously, he dodges a bullet. Startled by something, the hitman calls off his attack and flees.
That same night, Brooke is attacked at home where he keeps his prized collection of Elizabethan literature. As the assailants bear down on him, he backs up into a glass display case that encloses around him, creating a protective shield. Made safe but temporarily immobilised, he watches on as they rifle through his collection, snatch his fragment of the manuscript, and make a dash for it. Terrified by the ordeal, he double downs his defences, withdrawing from the rest of the world and its violent terrors.
Within a few days, amateur thespian Jason Riggs’ piece goes missing in a scheduled refurb operation at his fish restaurant, Miranda’s, named dotally after his wife. When the last original performer, Jeremy Goose, has also gambled away his portion, the cabal is left with just Mac’s excerpt, barely a quarter of the manuscript. With this setback, they arrange to reconvene at the re-opening of Miranda’s to make new plans.
Formerly a Royal Navy cook, and now a budding restaurant entrepreneur and devoted family man. Runs a recently refurbished fish restaurant in Lower Barton with his wife Miranda, after whom the boutique establishment is named. The ham-dram of the group.
Identities: A Tad Ruthless, Ex-Navy Chef, Restaurateur (obsession).
Obsession: Wants to be the biggest fish in some pond.
Noble: Camaraderie of those who work and fight together.
Rage: Jobsworths who prevent things from getting done.
Fear: Losing his wife (Isolation).
Relationships: Miranda Riggs (Favourite), Jeremy Goose (Responsibility), The Cabal (Mentor).
Played by: Alex ‘Cliomancer’ Powell.
An entropomancer committed to the ideal that is Karma. Banking on the misery of am-dram. Taught the art of coincidence magick by Frank Petrovski. The wild-child of the group.
Identities: Adept: Entropomancer (obsession), Petty Fraudster.
Obsession: Cosmic justice.
Noble: Knight in Shining Armour Complex, especially to protect women from harm.
Rage: Cannot abide the risk averse.
Fear: Loss of connection (Isolation).
Relationships: Nicholas Brooke (Protégé), The Cabal (Responsibility), Adept Teacher – Frank Petrovski (Mentor).
Played by: Gary ‘EvilGaz’ Bowerbank.
Book collector, volunteer librarian and fan of Elizabethan theatre. Based at the Lower Barton Library Theatre, where he lends selected items from his collection for the museum. The authentic dramaturge of the group.
Identities: Avatar: Collector (Rare Books) (obsession), Volunteer Librarian, Ghostwriter.
Obsession: Collecting books, with an ambition for the widest collection of exclusive books in his field.
Noble: Sharing knowledge.
Rage: People and institutions not spending money on useful stuff.
Fear: Knowledge falling into the wrong hands (Unnatural).
Relationships: The Cabal (Favourite), Marco ‘Mac’ Fubini (Guru).
Played by: Pete ‘Pedr’ Griffith
Marco ‘Mac’ Fubini
Amateur theatre director and ‘King of the Road’. Dropped out of drama school when his parents died in a house fire and his mad Scottish uncle committed suicide after burning his own fortune. Set up the Lower Barton Amateur Dramatics Society. Proprietor of Mac’s Rescues, garage and local accident recovery fleet. The committed thespian of the group.
Identities: Drama School Dropout, Avatar: True King (of the Road), Rescue Mechanic (obsession).
Obsession: All the world’s a stage.
Noble: Rescuing people who are stranded or trapped.
Rage: Those who mock culture, especially vandals.
Fear: Fire (Helplessness). Even small campfires, bonfires and fireworks.
Relationships: The Cabal (Protégé), Jason Riggs (Mentor).
Played by: Paul ‘Dr Mitch’ Mitchener