Back in February, I ran another Itras By scenario at the Tanelorn winter meeting. I gave a brief account of it in my Shortcuts report of that meeting, but I felt the urge to write an actual diary for the session, because it was lots of fun once more, and I have a feeling that the Itras By community out there might perhaps be interested.
This Itras By session, another one-shot which I ran for a few friends from the Tanelorn forum, was centered around the city’s film industry, i.e. Studio Boberow*. The movie that is being shot is a Romeo-and-Juliet-like tragedy called „Blue Roses“. The sensation about the picture is that not only will it have sound, but it will also be shot in color!
The main cast of characters in the movie is as follows:
- Female lead: Greta Gry Gardner – „Rosa“ (played by Patti)
- Male lead: Roman Anders – „Tulio“ (NPC)
- Supporting cast: Jesper Berg – „Felipe“, Tulio’s rival and the picture’s main Antagonist (NPC)
- Supporting cast: Ivan Martinsen – „José“: comic relief, Tulio’s unassuming friend (played by Asri)
Other people on the movie set:
- Johnny „I’ll turn you into a cine-star“ Synester, movie producer (played by Sashael)
- Tommy, nosy young camera boy and all-around Jack-of-all-trades (played by Madis)
- Maple Andersen, rich girl from Myntekollen who is fleeing from her suddenly-changed-for-the-worse fiancé, and a former friend/girlfriend of Greta’s and Ivan’s. She has very vividly colored eyes in two different tones (one sapphire blue, one emerald green), a characteristic which in city folklore has been linked to the descendants of Itra herself. (played by Gorai)
- Mikael Kyttegaard, said suddenly-changed-for-the-worse fiancé (NPC)
One evening, Maple turns up at Ivan’s door and tells him about her escape from her fiancé. She has visibly been beaten up (black eye, dishevelled hair), and Ivan invites her into his trailer to help her hide.
In the next scene, there is tension between Johnny Synester and the male lead, Roman Anders – Johnny would like to shoot a sound film, while Anders puts up resistance to the idea because of his horribly squeaky voice.
The next morning, when shooting is about to begin, Tom gets sent to wake up Jesper Berg, a supporting actor who plays the male lead’s rival, Felipe. Jesper, however, is lying dead in his trailer. The Grey Guard is called in to investigate, some uniformed guardsmen as well as two plain-clothes detectives in grey suits. The detectives interview everybody, and Ivan, who is jumpy because he is hiding Maple in his trailer, lays himself open to suspicion.
Greta states that she took a walk during the night since she was not able to sleep.
Once everybody has been interviewed, a rumor starts making the rounds on set according to which a few people claim to have seen a figure that looked suspiciously like Ivan.
The plain-clothes detectives knock at Ivan’s trailer door to have another chat with him. The young actor manages to keep the guardsman outside of his trailer for a bit so that Maple can hide inside. She ducks away in a bedding box, but forgets her handbag on the table.
The detectives see the handbag and take it with them, but they do not find Maple.
The shooting of the motion picture continues. Jesper’s death means that Ivan is given the antagonist’s role, and he is doing a really good job in it – suddenly he has much more charisma and presence and self-confidence than before. Plus his voice is nice and resonant and not squeaky like Anders’s.
Ivan tells Greta that Maple is currently seeking refuge with him. He suggests that Greta speak with Maple in his trailer (after all, the two women used to be best friends when they were girls). Greta, however, considers it unseemly to enter a strange man’s trailer. There has to be a better way to meet Maple.
Early in the morning, Ivan had brought some headscarves from the props department and taken them to Maple – but Tom the camera boy watched him doing so.
Johnny Synester is increasingly convinced that Ivan must be the murderer, in particular when he also sees someone sneaking around at night that looks like Ivan. Tom finds a handkerchief which he identifies as part of Ivan’s character’s costume. Tom takes the handkerchief to Johnny, who keeps it and sees it as further proof for Ivan’s guilt.
Johnny spends the night on a cot in his office. He plans to shoot all scenes featuring Ivan first so as to be able to profit from the scandal when the person who plays the antagonist is also exposed as a murderer in real life. As long as he keeps from being arrested until all his scenes are done, the actor can go to prison afterwards or be executed or whatever for all that Johnny cares.
The next day, however, the handkerchief is back in Ivan’s costume when filming is resumed.
Greta meets Maple in her trailer, where the girls have a somewhat tearful reunion. For some reason, Johnny is also present (don’t exactly remember what reason that was, but Patti says he was there to give Greta hints about her performance, which neither she nor the director, who was also at the meeting, appreciated much) and offers Maple a role in the movie. Greta offers her trailer to Maple, who is deathly afraid of her fiancé and claims that he will find her anywhere, as a hideout. Johnny sees her black eye and gets the idea of having Greta’s character beaten up by Ivan’s newly-advanced-to-antagonist character, José.
Earlier, Maple had asked Ivan to put in a good word for her with Johnny, because she would also like to be in the movie. When Johnny now meets her and sees her black eye, he blames Ivan for the blow, as well. Johnny promises to turn Maple into a star. Good thing that Greta doesn’t hear him say so… But at least the producer asks Greta whether Maple has got any talent. She only shakes her head but doesn’t get around to saying that Maple can only play herself. There currently is no vacancy or a female character in the movie, but Johnny, seeing Maple’s dual-toned eyes, quickly improvises and gives her the role of Itra, who wasn’t in the script so far but who shall now appear in the grand finale. At least, playing Itra and simply sweeping into the room, there is not much Maple can do wrong.
On that same day (in the late morning, to be exact) Maple’s fiancé, Michael Kyttegaard, appears on set in search of her, absolutely furious. (He heard that she might be here because the policemen informed him about the handbag they found in Ivan’s trailer)
Mikael has strange eyes: two-toned like Maple’s, but somehow artificial-looking (he was brown-eyed before). He behaves in a highly choleric manner, but Johnny manages to keep him in check.
The reason for his behavior (some of which is defined by the group together at this point, some later, when everything fit together perfectly, so some of Mikael’s background is explained in-game now, the rest later) is that he has taken on a Managing Director’s job in his father’s company, which was a bit much for him. The company is a chemical company that manufactures paints, lacquers and pigments and – coincidence of coincidences – also furnishes the materials for this ground-breaking color movie. He has colored his own eyes with some of the pigment, which has had this detrimental effect on him and made him so choleric.)
Later that day, there is another confrontation between Johnny Synester and „Tulio“, in which the producer tells Roman Anders to his face that his time as an actor is running out.
The next scene is the shooting of the grand finale, which takes place in a huge ballroom, and everything is decorated with blue roses. The script calls for a fight between the main character and the antagonist, i.e. Tulio/Anders and José/Ivan. Maple, all dressed in white as Itra, appears on the scene. Her fiancé (who has insisted on staying for the shoot, given that he is the Managing Director of the company that supplies the revolutionary color film) sees her and runs towards her, murder in his eyes. Greta intervenes and actually manages to distract Mikael from his fiancée, but in doing so, Mikael entirely fixates on Greta (and loses some of his mad fury) [The unexpected consequences card, as one might have imagined] . Taking a closer look at Mikael, Greta realizes that he is the man whom she has been seeing in her dreams – and searching for during her waking hours – for so many years. Maple hands Greta her engagement ring with the comment that Greta probably will need this more than her.
At the same time, suddenly José the character appears from the shadows where Tom is acting as cameraman [also due to the weird effects of the strange color pigments used in the filming, of course]. A real, vicious fight breaks out beween José and Tulio/Anders, but Ivan intercedes. During the struggle between the two, both the actor and his character are drawn into the shadows, and only one of them comes out again. Is it Ivan the actor? Is it José the character? It’s Ivan, yes, but the rest of the group can’t be entirely sure, because the formerly shy supporting actor now has a self-confident glint in his eyes. He kisses Maple, Mikael kisses Greta. Tom films the scene to applause from everyone.
*Itras By’s film studio is called „Babelsberg“ in the Norwegian and English versions, but for the German version I’ve decided to go with „Boberow“ instead. Babelsberg, after all, is an existing modern-day film studio in Germany, so I felt I needed a name that was a bit more „removed“ from real life than that. At first I was thinking of „Barrandov“, the legendary Czech film studio where all the Czech fairy tale movies of the 1970s and 1980s were shot, but after a brainstorming session with some very good friends, I finally ended up with Boberow because that is the old Slavic name for Babelsberg.