The Dolls Of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera is a 4-Act play composed and written by Paul Shapera. So far, there has only been a workshop performance, but the audio version of the entire play can be found here.
The Steampunk Opera follows four generations of McAlistairs, beginning with the Mad Scientist Annabelle, who is attempting to raise from the dead the love of her life. The story is told by an all-knowing Narrator.
The story is set in the fantastical Steampunk city of New Albion. Each act contains a song sung by the Narrator who describes the history and culture of the city. As each new generation passes, the city grows and evolves too, along with the people in it.
The other two parts of the trilogy, The New Albion Radio Hour and The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, are available for your listening pleasure. The entire albums are available here and here.
- All-Knowing Singing Narrator: The narrator for the story operates like this—in addition to providing exposition in the main songs, in between each act is a sung tango describing how New Albion is progressing.
- All Love Is Unrequited:
- The only character with a requited love interest marries her ex-fiancee when he threatens to keep her from her father, whom he just brought back from the dead.
- Also, even though 3/4 of the McAlistairs are strangely in love with Jasper, Priscilla is the only person he truly loves back. It doesn't end well
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Edgar blackmails Fay into marrying him after ruining her fiance by threatening to withhold her recently revived father from her.
- Back from the Dead:
- Jasper. After Annabel brings him back and then kills him because he asked her to, Edgar brings him back AGAIN.
- All of the dolls in New Albion are this really.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Jasper, after four generations of begging for death, finally gets his wish—at the cost of Priscilla's life.
- Breather Episode: The Ballad of the Monk and the Gambler is a fun and carnival-esque song separating the (almost) burning of Jasper and the dystopian New Albion of Act 4.
- Chekhov's Gun: Annabel's notes on raising the dead, which Edgar finds in a trunk in the attic.
- City of Weirdos: Annabel struts around New Albion with a life-sized mechanical doll and no one seems to care, probably because there is a lot of weirder stuff going on.Narrator: "New Albion today / With bustling streets, machines, cafes / And the nice, the wise, the eccentric and insane"
- Cult: The Voodoopunks.
- Death Seeker: Jasper is one through all four acts. Eventually he gets his wish, but at the cost of Priscilla's life.
- Dystopia: After Act III, New Albion becomes this.
- Generational Saga: Each acts follows a new generation in the McAlistair family.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Edgar, big time. Destroyed the home and livelihood of the man his girlfriend left him for in order to make her desperate enough to give in to his blackmail.Edgar: There's a man they call Sillof, and he once stole my girl. I want him destroyed, all he has in this world. His business, his home, and his carriage all crushed. I want him left penniless, face down in the dust!
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Priscilla sacrifices her life so Jasper can die (again).
- Jasper stays alive despite wishing to return to the afterlife because if he is caught, his entire family will be killed.
- Incompatible Orientation:
- Amelia to Byron. Have we mentioned All Love Is Unrequited?
- To make this worse for poor Amelia, Byron later does marry a lady for political purposes, as the fourth generation focuses on his daughter Priscilla. Amelia is dead by then and even if she'd been alive, it would unlikely be happy for Byron at least...
- Intellectual Animal: The cat burglars' "pet albatross Simon and a brilliant mouse named Sam."
- Ironic Echo: There's like ten of these. Some of the more obvious examples:
- When Priscilla dies, the Narrator reverses her lines from Annabel Has a Doll.
- Also, Priscilla reverses Annabel's lines back in Annabel Raises the Dead.
- Jasper also mimics the "Be my angel" lines from Annabel, which may be more or less ironic since he actually knew her and heard those lines.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: The exact process Annabel uses to bring Jasper back to life is never said, but the line "With voltage I invoke!" seems to imply this.
- Love Makes You Evil: Fay dumping Edgar for someone else does not make him happy.
- Loving a Shadow: The source behind Annabel and Byron's love for Jasper, wanting a submissive partner (or father figure) they can project whatever they want onto for their own emotional problems rather than an actual person. Notably Priscilla is the only McAlistair who learns how to have a conversation with him.
- Mad Scientist: Annabel, of course, and Edgar as well, to a lesser extent.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: At the end of Act 3, Byron gives a speech to try and rally the population back to his side after the song being played by the dolls leads Amelia to kill herself. This involves telling them that they're pushing a doll into the position of Mayor and that their kids are all dancing each night with the dead.Narrator: "Kill the dolls! Kill the dolls!" everyone screamed.Byron: Now hold on, this isn't at all what we mean!
- Only Child Syndrome: All four generations of McAlistairs are only children.
Edgar: One day, you will learn, and you will burn like my heart burns!
- Edgar makes this his life's mission after Fay leaves him. Once he succeeds, Fay vows revenge unto him.
- Soldier 7285 eventually vows this upon the government of New Albion after Priscilla's death.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Annabel/Annabelle/Annabella.
- Steampunk: The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera.
- Suicide by Cop: Priscilla sacrifices herself to let Jasper return to the afterlife by doing this.
- Together in Death: Priscilla's song at the very end suggests she expects to see Jasper again in the afterlife after they've both been killed by the police. The third installment in the series shows that this won't happen, as Priscilla repeatedly reincarnates, making this a subversion.
- Unwanted Revival: From the moment Annabel brings him back, Jasper just wants to be dead again.
- Villain Song: "Edgar Builds a Business" is a cheerful, carnival-esque tune about Edgar building a massive fortune, and then using it to utterly ruin his romantic rival and extort Fay into getting back together with him.
- You Are Number 6: Soldier 7285.