It is all so easy to forget that Altdorf is a city divided by the broad River Reik. In the summer, when I walk about the crowded streets, among the alleys and walkways, the sheer bustle of the city whisks all thoughts of open spaces and cool waters. But always, the deep black waters of the Reik are there, waiting for me as I take an unexpected turn and end up by the banks of the river.
It is a fact of life, and while it serves as the life blood of our capital, at the same time it reinforces the social and cultural boundaries dividing the working class from the nobles and their servants of the Imperial administration.
The bridges of Altdorf serve as gateways between different worlds. They are officially under the jurisdiction of the City Watch, but since they straddle the Reik, powers are working to put the River Watch in charge of the bridges as well. This, and the fact that a bridge connects two Bezirks and therefore often fall under two City Watch jurisdictions, means that the bridges more often than not are havens for crooks and criminals, while the powers that be squabble over who has the responsibility of keeping order … and who will get the money for doing it.
Wellentag, Erntezeit 9, 2523 IC
Of course, this is seen as vulgar entertainment by the upper class and the pretentious cultural élite, but this bothers the clientele little, as the seats are sold out almost every night. Each season the Volksoper gives around three hundred performances of twenty productions, closing only during the hottest months of the year, as other open-air entertainments are more popular during those times. The Volksoper has 900 seats, and room for about as many standees.
The most famous plays that have been staged at the venue, and which are habitually restaged every couple of years are such masterpieces as;
“The Angry, the Happy, and the Watchman”, a tale of three mercenaries seeking the same gold treasure in the ruins of Mordheim.
“The Merry-Go-Round”, a farce set in Altdorf guild circles, with plenty of mistaken identities and pratfalls.
“The Bat”, a dark and violent tale of revenge and the mental decay of a noble turned vigilante.