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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Extended Backstory

We'll trim these backstories to a paragraph each for the production bible. Thought I'd have some fun being indulgent with them, going deeper than necessary.

The Duke

The Duke was born the second son of a wealthy, though kind and compassionate, aristocratic family. His early childhood was uneventful until the outbreak of war in the country. His father and older brother, fierce patriots, were both killed during the fighting.

In her grief, the Duke’s mother vowed to do everything in her power to keep her only surviving son safe and from harm. The Duke, from then on was sheltered and over-protected by his well-meaning mother. Mocked by his peers for the behaviour of his mother he soon lost interest in playing with those his own age, instead he socialised with children younger than himself, to whom he soon became a bully.

Having an unfulfilling social life, the Duke soon took advantage of his doting mother, and took up a number of expensive and unusual hobbies, his favourite of which soon became lepidoptery, the study of moths and butterflies. Not so much excited by their gracefulness, but by their beauty; and by his ability to posses such beauty.

His collection of pinned butterflies soon grew, and the Duke grew interested in other flying creatures. In his attempts to purchase an aviary the Duke’s attention was brought to a young Duchess named Emily from a neighbouring country with a famed interest in falconry.

With revolt threatening in the Duchesses country, the Duke once again abused his mothers love to arrange for his marriage to the Duchess.

The Duke simply wishes to posses Emily as another trophy. He is not an evil man, but a mean-spirited, vain and spoiled bully, one who cannot stand to be challenged or denied.

The Bandit

Edward came from a once wealthy family who had lost their fortune to a series of poor business decisions. His father, a hopeless romantic, was an amateur magician who hoped to one day travel to America and make it big in the emerging motion picture industry. Never succeeding in this plan, he died young, leaving his son with nothing but debt and a talent for close-up magic.

Edward had aspirations of a much grander life for himself and planned on getting an education from a well respected university. To pay for his first year’s tuition, his mother pawned a valuable family necklace, the last of their fortune. Edward soon ran out of money and could not afford to pay the rest of his fees. In desperation he took to petty theft to try and raise capitol, using his skill at sleight of hand. By chance, he spotted his mothers necklace in an up-market jewellers’ window display and could not resist stealing it back. Edward’s skill at misdirection was not enough to deceive the jeweller who caught him red-handed.

Taking pity on him, the owner instead offered to employ the young man as his gift for quick, crafty movements would make him ideal at spotting similar attempts at theft.

Edward is not naturally quick witted, but makes up for it with determination and a desire to work hard. He is impulsive and throws himself into challenges, enjoying the thrill of being slightly out of his depth.

The Duchess

The Duchess Emily had a comfortable, but dull life. The youngest of a large family, and the only girl, she was dotted on. She was prized amongst her family, and amongst her father’s Duchy, for her uniqueness as the only female, a curse as much as a burden that she soon became aware of. The young Duchess watched all her brothers grow up to lead exciting, fulfilled lives knowing she would never be allowed such a life for herself.

An intelligent young women, not often allowed to take part in many exciting activities by her good-intentioned parents, the Duchess spent much of her youth at her studies determined to have an active mind if not an active lifestyle. The weight of her responsibility soon diminished her enthusiasm and she resigned herself to a life of privileged boredom.

Her one enjoyment in life came from falconry, a sport her father considered safe enough for her to take up. Having little else to do she devoted much of her time to her bird and garnered quite a reputation around the kingdoms for her skill, seemingly able to have any command carried out by her faithful falcon.

The Duchess is an intelligent and compassionate young woman, but feels her life is not her own and wishes desperately to break free of her societal bounds.

The Plan

Rising unrest in the Duchess’ homeland gave her parents cause to think that the aristocracy in the country would soon no longer be safe, they accepted the offer of marriage from the Duke of neighbouring Duchy.

Emily was completely opposed to the plan, the Duke was boorish and proud, and she detested being treated like a child. This arranged marriage was one more unwanted obligation in her life. In a clumsy attempt to appease his future wife, the Duke offered to buy her an expensive wedding ring before they left.

When Emily and her suitor arrived at the jewellers, Edward fell instantly in love. While the Duke and owner haggled over engagement rings, Edward entertained the Emily with acts of magic that delighted her. The Duchess found all the Duke’s choices of ring to be vulgar and tacky, but found Edward’s suggestion of a beautiful diamond necklace to be very charming.

The Duke purchased the necklace, unaware that Emily had become enamoured by the charming young assistant. In the days before she was due to leave the country, Emily met with Edward frequently; thrilled at the sudden acts of rebellion he inspired in her. In secret and they plotted to run off together, leaving their dull lives behind.

The plan would need to be clever and daring and would require careful planning and a lot of luck if they where to break the social bounds that constrained them, as well as to escape the Duke who felt the Duchess was his by social decree.


  1. The more I read this the more I think we've gone too far the other way. I think we need to cover less ground in their back story and leave more to the imagination of the audience. My head feels crowded from it. I think we should be more restrained in our approach, or we risk becoming indulgent.

  2. I agree with what Freya said. Lets discuss it at great length. =P


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