The Old Theatre at Tamarlan

Tamarlan

We first read about the Old Theatre in Quest for Knowledge

Tamarlan is a city of artists set in a precarious position between the mountains and the desert. Its king was lost long ago and it is has been ruled by regents ever since in the belief that the king will return one day.

“It was always a fine sight, entering the city of artists. Tamarlan sat in the middle of the northern plains, like a fancy jewel set in the middle of an otherwise unembellished brooch. The plains were extensively farmed and provided food not only for the city but also to trade with the dwarves for their gold and gemstones. These treasures were used both for artistic purposes and to trade for other goods and services the city needed. Its geographic location meant that trade was very difficult and only possible when the mountain passes were open in summer. It also meant that Tamarlan, over the long years, had become totally self-sufficient. It had become a haven for those seeking to escape the world for whatever reasons, but particularly it had become a haven for artists of all persuasions. Manfred had visited the city many times and always enjoyed his stays. He liked visiting the theatre to see the latest plays and the art galleries to view the works of the city’s fine artists both past and present. Manfred craned his neck to see more of the city as they approached.

It was an unusual sight for a city in the middle of nowhere. There were no city walls, no ramparts, in fact no defences of any sort. The streets were wide and tree-lined. The trees were mainly deciduous and they were now just bursting into leaf. Apple and cherry trees were coming into blossom. The city seemed to be renewing itself after a long, hard winter. The houses were single storey, made of local stone and brick. Housewives were busy with spring-cleaning. The city’s industry and quarries were located to the north, on the edge of the inhospitable and mysterious Northland, so that the approach from the south was unsullied. At the centre of the city stood the ancient precincts. Here was Tamarlan’s heart. Cobbled streets wound through the great market and past many art galleries, theatres, and meeting venues. People hustled and bustled about their business. Large, colourful signs proclaimed forthcoming shows and displays. At the centre of everything were two human-built mounds. The Life Stream flowed between the mounds and an ornate stone bridge crossed the river and joined the two mounds. On one stood the ancient palace of the kings, now occupied and maintained by the Regent. As palaces go, it was an unprepossessing place. Its one striking feature was its high tower, made of local stone that stretched skywards in phallic symbolism. On the other mound stood one of the Seven Wonders of the World – The Old Theatre.

Manfred found his eyes drawn to the Theatre Mound, clearly the reason why the palace had such a plain design. Manfred had seen it many times before, but each renewed impression always generated a gasp of surprise, even in an ancient wizard who thought he had seen everything. The Old Theatre was a circular construction, or as near to circular as the original carpenters could manage. It was perhaps two hundred feet in diameter and one hundred feet high. It had been constructed from timber originally, but over the years, the rotting wood had been replaced with granite from the mountains. From the outside, there was no visible evidence of what artistic delights its interior held. Its most striking feature was that by some feat of engineering or magic it appeared to hover, unsupported in mid-air, one hundred feet above the mound. Viewed from the correct angle, with the palace spire behind it, the Old Theatre gave the impression of an enormous child’s spinning top.”