Almad Yalzhengo (variously spelled Yalzhenhgo, Yaelzhengo, etc.) was a Valruzian playwright.
Born in the region of Olanhga, by then a part of Zhaliua, geneaologists have claimed that he would have been an heir to the state had it retained its independence. As Yalzhenhgo was born centuries after this annexation, the point is largely irrelevant.
He is noted as the greatest Valruzian playwright, and lived much of his life in Arglon. He lived in Lesvidh Adiunh for a few years, but soon moved out to the eastern region and joined a circuit of traveling performers. There his plays were performed for appreciative, but largely uneducated audiences, and he remained largely unknown until some time after his death.
With the exception of a few of his more popular plays most of his works were feared lost, until the almost complete collection if his manuscripts was discovered in Pakgafdozhuyain.
Yalzhengo was notable for the inclusion of music in his plays. The songs that he wrote the lyrics, and often the music to make his plays the first musicals in Valruzian literature. Every play he is known to have written has included at least one song, although some scholars dispute the songs in his first play: Kerolaend.
He generally wrote in iambic pattern, and his lines would almost always rhymn. He was notable for his love of wordplay and language mangling. He was writting in the trasinsitional period of Middle to Early Modern Ruzian, and made many experiments with grammar that were not to be accepted when the rules were codified.
Nevertheless, he made many contributions to the inventory of Valruzian expressions, and would happily use words from other languages including Kaenirelona, Zuman, and English, and pre-English Baltusian. Perhaps most notably, his play Bandora gave the new stat of Vurlunia its new name, following the death of its founder, Bandor.
Today his archaic style and unconstrained grammar make him a joy to most Valruzians, a pain to students, and anathema to grammarians. Indeed, one professor dismissed him as "an ignorant buffoon and insufferable boor without the basest knowledge of the intricacies of the grammar of our language."
Yalzhengo's plays generally make use of certain motifs, although many scholars argue that such classification is irrelevant.
- The clever man.
- The wanderer in search of a goal.
- The wrongfully deprived failing to acheive vengence.
- The overly-clever.
- The great leader.
- The bickerers.
- The lost seeking to find their way.
- The falsely self-clever group of fools.
- The one against the world.
Almost all of Yalzhengo's great plays use several of these themes together.
Play Types Edit
Yalzhengo's plays generally are divided into four main types, although there is often some overlap between them. Unlike earlier playwrights who wrote only simplistic comedies or tradgedies Yalzhengo wrote convoluted plays, often with strong moral tones to them. Generally his plays are divided into four types.
The Comedies Edit
The comedies are generally satirical in nature. They almost always poke fun at contemporary references, and yet are still comical in their own right, free of context.
- Ishchantine's Fall
- The Little Wise Fool
- The SeaMan of Zhaliua
- Congress of Sages
- Once and Many
- Dalnat' Gave
The Moral Fables Edit
The Moral Fables tend also to be satirical, although they tend to make the audience angry or frustrated rather than cracked up.
Moral Fables include:
- A Trader's Price
- Twain Unto Ever
- Land of Fools
- Heir to Naught
Time and Tide is sometimes considered a moral fable, although the play tends to be far more depressing than infuriating or frusturating, which causes many scholars to classify it seperately.
The Dramatic Adventures Edit
Dramtic Adventures usually take place in distant lands, which at the time would be pretty much anywhere that didn't speak Valruzian. They deal in strange peoples and customs, intrigue and danger, and are much the medival equivilant of a thriller.
Because dramtic adventures were a popular new genre in his time, there are more disputed or lost dramtic adventures by Yalzhengo than any other type of play.
Dramtic Adventures Include:
- Voyage Beyond the Earth
- Voyage Beyond the Earth, Part One
- A'Dwolan in Kafruz
- Dalnat' Gave
- Cure in Weft
The Histories Edit
The histories document historic people or events. There are generally considered to be two sub genres of Yalzhengo histories: the dramatic histories and the simple histories. Dramatic histories make use of poetic liscence to make the plays more interesting, whereas simple histories, keep more to the actual history as known.
- As for Become
- The Peasants' King
- He Who Wilt
Time and Tide is very different from any other known Yalzhengo plays, while still clearly by the famous playwright. This some to believe that Yalzhengo to believe that he may have been depressed when he wrote it. It is sometimes called the "Pure" or "Pointless" tragedy.
Additionally, there are several disputed plays that do not fit into any of these categories. Most well known of these is A Comedy of Song. Soliloquy also fits into this category, some argue. Insen Tides is rather similar in tone to Time and Tide, and from around the same period. Some people therefore argue that Yalzhengo was indeed depressed at the time, and when he wrote Insen Tides was too depressed even to write cleverly.
Kerolaend is Almad Yalzhengo's first known play. Until recently we only had part of the play, enough to tell us that the basic plot involved the travails of a traveling group of performers. Yalzhengo certainly did not write the songs used, and there are questions as to whether they were originally part of the play. They appear to have been popular songs of the time and may well have been added in for later uses. A manuscript version was recently discovered by an antiquarian book dealer Cevunrelona, efforts are currently being made to determine the faded writing.
Ishchantine's Fall Edit
Ishchantine's Fall: A Tragic Comedy is a satirical piece in which the fall of an Ishchantine to the offers of con men neatly parrellels that of the decline of the state of Ishchant from the mercantile era to the capture of Valzadzazna by Hulbark.
The Little Wise Fool Edit
The Little Wise Fool: A Comic Fortunity is a comedy about a merchant's conflict with a thug and a politician. The merchant sets up shop outside of a city which he recognizes of a nest of robbers, and soon he is doing highly profitable business. He refuses to pay his extortion tax to the greedy local strongman who convinces the mayor of a nearby city to confiscate the merchant's possessions in retaliation. The merchant outsmarts the mayor and ends up as the mayor of the city, while the strong man manages to kill himself by accident. The play is undoubtedly a parody of the merchant guilds of Arglon, of which open criticism even little towns in the remote east would result in retaliation. It is unclear whether the play was ever performed in his time, but once the work was released after his death in post-mercantile Hulbark it became the most popular play in Valruzia, and remains beloved to this day.
The SeaMan of Zhaliua Edit
The SeaMan of Zhaliua: A Comedy tells about a man who convinces the government of Zhaliua, a state further from the sea than it is in any direction across, that it needs a navy. This is most likely another parody of the guilds, however far more subtly directed and was certainly highly popular in his time, simply because of the comic nature of the work.
Time and Tide Edit
Time and Tide: The Forsaken Island was until recently one of the lesser known plays of Almad Yalzhengo. While clearly written by the great playwright, it is seen as confused, depressed, and comparatively weak. Some scholars suggest that he may have had a fit of depression during this period. The play details the self-destruction of a small island nation, through hubris and actions beyond the island's capacity. It has been ressurrected by Valruzian green groups in the modern era as a prophetic work forbooding the danger's of mankind's actions to come.
Congress of Sages Edit
Congress of Sages: The World's Great Men is often considered to be Yalzhengo's least clever play, although this is relative and the play is still very popular. On the surface, it seems to be simply a satire of the pomp and pride of political leaders. Supporters of the play argue that the play captures and categorizes every type of politician known to man, and it was very popular during its time. Indeed, it angered some political leaders enough to have been thrice banned in Arglon, although tow of these bans were repealed by the monarch and one by the ruler's sucessor.
Once and Many Edit
Once and Many: A Maritial Comedy documents the travails of an extended family that would be familiar to any modern reader who hs endured a family reunion or holiday gathering. The issue deals with a minor lord who is visited first by his wife's family, then by his own, and finally by his mother's family. The disputes and issues that ensue are seen by some as a metaphor for dynastic intrigue. Most consider the play to be simply a comedy.
As for Become Edit
As for Become: A Tale of the Zumans tells of the rise of a female ruler in Nuzria, and the tactics that she uses to achieve it. While the character and situation are indeed historical, Yalzhengo took signficant liberties in his telling. It is considered the first great work of those plays generally classified as histories.
Voyage Beyond the Earth Edit
Voyage Beyond the Earth [Part Two: The Northern Sea] details the mythical journey of an adventurer in Makon and Keris. It appears to have been pieced together from various sources. The play was later expanded with part one and renamed as part two. Interestingly enough, it details a passages across the north of Makon and Keris, a journey that no north Seleyan had yet attempted.
A Trader's Price Edit
A Trader's Price and What it Entails is a scathing tale of a merchant who peddles in information, and betrays close confidents for a bit of coin. The play takes place in Arglon, Zuma, Dugathan, and Arglon. It appears to have been a commentary on a contemporary situation. Although precisely what it refers to is unknown, numerous historians have made numerous different guesses.
The Peasants' King Edit
The Peasants' King: The Stories of Zidqan is another of Yalzhengo's great histories. It details the revolt of the the Vurlunians, which when the play was written was unsuccessful. Despite the implication, Bandor is only a minor character involved primarily at the end, with the conflict for kingship apparent between Arglon and Dugathan.
Twain Unto Ever Edit
Twain Unto Ever: A Romantic Tradgedy is the story of a pre-arranged marriage gone awry as the two betrothed fall in love with others. The two fall out with and are disowned by their families. The groom-to-be then meets the bride and changes his mind, while the bride-to-be retains hers. The groom pursues the bride and the girl murders her pursuer, and then too has a change of heart. Her beloved fakes death to get her back and the girl suicides over this. While initially comic, ultimately almost everybody in the play dies.
Voyage Beyond the Earth, Part One Edit
Voyage Beyond the Earth, Part One: The Meria Voyage details a historical trading voyage often made by Valruzian seafarers to the island of Meria. The voyages had slowed after the island was annexed by Likatonia, but not completely stopped. The play is a prequel to Voyage beyond the Earth, and ends with the expedition sailing north again across the uncharted sea.
Saladanh the General details the exploits of the contemporary Arglonese general Saladanh Paltai in his sucessful plot to overthrow the guilds, following his fame and popularity from his victories in the Vurlunia campaign. While considered a history play, the work is also widely regarded as a propaganda piece. One of the most famous speeches of any of Yalzhengo's works is in this play, starting, in part "but yet more noble still is treason made [for a good purpose]." Salandanh's own sucessor banned the play for its subversive nature, although his sucessor later repealed it.
A'Dwolan in Kafruz Edit
A'Dwolan in Kafruz: Tales of Far of Lands tells of the adventures of a foreigner (a Majaratan) in lands (also, Majaratan, Kafruz probably refers to modern Kafuristan, Cildania, or Al'Badara) foreign even to him. A'Dwolan's adventures and mishaps in this strange culture lead some to classify it as the greatest of Yalzhengo's dramatic adventures.
Heir to Naught Edit
Heir to Naught: A Tale of a Prince of Mazarata tells of a minor prince in Majarata deprived of his inheiritance by the clever legalistic mechinations of his regent. The heir's sister manages to prove the regent guilty of assasination of the former monarch, whereby the prince and the regent end up comitted to a trial by combat. The regent frames the prince for a crime which would make him ineligible for the right to trial, at least by the regent's reasoning. The princess manages to free the prince from the cell with the help of the prince's consort. The prince proceedes to engage the regent in a duel, and kills the regent before being mortally wounded by a guard. Every major male character in the play, and several females as well, ultimately die, and the play concludes with the question of who should serve as the next ruler of the kingdom. The play is often considered to be a commentary of the exploitation of loopholes and vagueries in the laws.
Bandora: Tale of Tactical Manuverance and Tradgedy in Vurlunia tells of the manuvering that happened following the capture of Zidorkryu as if it had happened just before the fortress's fall. While the precise timing of events takes much artistic liscense, the play is nevertheless considered to one of Yalzhengo's histories. The play additionally, is considered one of the great works of Bandorra, and gave the country its name, despite being written by a foreign author.
Dalnat' Gave Edit
Dalnat' Gave: The Cunning Man in Keanerelontan is the only dramatic adventure genre play by Yalzhengo to take place within the boundaries of modern Valruzia. At the time, "Relonaithan," as it was called by the Dugatines, consisted of the Kaenirelona lands outside of Dugatine control. The name that Yalzhengo gave in reference probably resulted from confusion on the part of the playwright. The play deals with a traveler whose origin is not given, but who is traveling through the lands of the mountain people. He appears to those who he meets to be an utter fool, but ultimately proves smarter than all he deals with and ends up quite wealthy. Gave distributes his newfound wealth as charity, but his point has been proved. Some critics have accused the play of having racist tones and being an example of Ruzian chauvanism. Few, however take these accusations to seriously, and most consider it to be simple comedy.
Cure in Weft Edit
Cure in Weft: The Journeyman of Gworuska tells of a journeyman mage who sets out from Gworuska, in modern Tukarali to establish himself in his craft. He travels through southern Baltusia, to every portion of Gaudrios, before returning to his tribal homeland. Finding his distant land inadequate for his skills, he returns to the bustling region of Athosia in Baltusia, and passed on to Kalistan. Here the play ends. It is to be assumed that he eventually reaches Shrin Kali, based on the play Cure in the Warp: the Master of shrin Kali]]. This sequel, unfortunately has been lost.
The Land of Fools Edit
The Land of Fools: On the Continent of Barbarians makes a mockery of Artanian civilization contemporary with Yalzhengo's time of writing. The play deals with a traveler through much of Artania who discovers hubristic and pompous people with no common sense wherever he goes. The protagonist manages to resist bilking them out of more than they need to survive, although eventually the Artanians attack them and they barely escape with their life. The play is considered chauvinist by many Artanians, although Seleyans seem to regard it as simply a mockery of Artanian Chauvinism, and fine in its own right.
He Who Wilt Edit
He Who Wilt: The King of Ladikonia is thought to be a historical account of a king of Likatonia. The precise king is not clear, although the account seems to be historically accurate. There is no clear underlying moral in the play, and it is regarded as an attempt by Yalzhengo to chronical a historical figure with reasonable accuracy. He had written several suy /or an attempt to sum up the history of Likatonian expansion around one character. Currently the first interpetation is more popularly accepted, but the second is gaining in credibility, particularly because the play does indeed do what the second interpretation claims it does. In this perhaps, the dispute is more over whether there really was such a historical figure.
Minor Plays Edit
Minor plays of Almad Yalzhengo are defined as those which are not performed all that often.
These consist primarily of histories and a few dramtic adventures.
Lost Plays Edit
- Cure in Warp: The Master of Shrin Kali
- Kester, the Baltusian in Court
- Kester in Andalay
- Voyage Beyond the Earth, Part three: The Happy Isles
Disputed Plays Edit
A Comedy of Song Edit
A Comedy of Song is something of an early musical extravaganza. The songs were amusing in their own right, but can hardly be considered to form a coherent story. The work was first seen when it was included in a collection of Yalzhengo Plays, halfway through, as an intermission of sorts. Some Yalzhengo scholars have speculated that Yalzhengo wrote the songs as independent pieces detailing the political events of his days, and thay they were later pieced together in rough chronology of the events. The only other explanation that has yet been given is that a comptemporary playwright talented at music but not at plot wrote the work and it was later included by a confused publisher.
Tanhga in Saridanh Edit
Tanhga in Saridanh documents an adventerer in modern Saridan. The work seems to be similar to Yalzhengo's however it was never attributed to him. The play was published anonymously, ad scholars tend to agree that the play was written by a slighlty later ametuer playwright trying to imitate Yalzhengo. Nevertheless, it it a popular play, more so than several of Yalzhengo's own.
Other disputed plays include:
- Across and Earth
- The Fool and His Money
- Insen Tides