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Audio Play / The New Albion Radio Hour

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The New Albion Radio Hour: A Dieselpunk Opera is a 4-Act opera composed and written by Paul Shapera. It is the sequel to The Dolls of New Albion, and the audio version of the entire play can be found here.

The Dieselpunk Opera occurs ten years after the events in Dolls of New Albion, and the featured family this time around is the O'Briens, with Constance O'Brien and her father John being the main protagonists. The story is told by an all-knowing Narrator, who describes a New Albion torn apart by war.

The story of New Albion is continued in its sequel, The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness.


  • Action Dad: John is Constance's father and a super solider.
  • Action Hero: All four of the main characters to certain extent, but Constance in particular. Doubles as a Guile Hero.
  • Alcoholic Parent: John becomes this to Constance. She ends up with a drinking problem, as well
  • All-Knowing Singing Narrator: Of the Radio Broadcaster variety.
    • Except for when Jackie hears his narration in Blood Red Dogs and has a moral disagreement. She gets into a second argument with him in the Finale over his actual role of either telling the story or creating it.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The rebels briefly become the villains in the Blood Red Dogs song.
  • Anti-Hero: Constance. She's a thief who, at the beginning, is pretty selfish, only sees what she wants to see, and is only Resigned to the Call when she can't avoid it any longer. However, she's Just Like Robin Hood, and pretty justified in selfishness/blindness due to her Dark and Troubled Past. And once she has Character Development she becomes a lot more of classic hero and certainlydoes the right thing in the end.
  • Arc Words: Anything have to do with dreams and being asleep—mostly used to describe Constance always "dreaming" and only seeing what she wants to see up until her Character Development. Also, running away is a common theme, ending when Constance refuses her teammates decision to run.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Thomas delivers one to Constance during "The Discussion 2". Afterward, she admits to the karmic irony but is still hurt.
    Constance: You used me and you played me!
    Thomas: Like you played your marks?
  • Badass Army: The Blood Red Dogs
  • Badass Driver: Jacqueline, during "The Bust"
  • Badass Family: The O'Brien's.
  • Becoming the Mask: Constance goes deeper and deeper into her own head and her life as a thief, to the point where she refuses see to what's right in front in her and only believes what she wants to believe
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Constance blinds herself from the world around her to the point that she doesn't see what's right in front of her. This changes after her Character Development.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jacqueline pretty much all the time.
    • John, at the end.
  • Big Entrance: Those guys in the beginning of "The Bust"
    Police: And on the day we come, it's over!
    • And John, in "The Operation" and "The Substation" (the same event happens in each song, but from a different point-of-view)
  • Bittersweet Ending: Constance and Thomas live after Jacqueline argues with Lloyd Allen to change the story, but she is killed by government soldiers soon after. John then sacrifices himself to give them a chance to flee the battle. While the rebels are able to storm parliament and overthrow the tyrannical government, they soon fall into infighting and New Albion ends up split into eight districts that are at odds with each other.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A very odd example. They break one of the walls. It's a Show Within a Show, but the players want to change the narrative.
    • First, where the second act opens, Lloyd has a conversation with Constance O'Brien who will be "playing the part" of the lead role in that act. However, as it turns out, the lead character in the second act is, in fact, named Constance O'Brien. After that, it starts to become clear it might not be as much of a Show Within a Show as it seemed.
    • In "The Underground" Constance hears Lloyd Allen narrating and starts asking him who he is. He's able to get her to "slip back into character."
    • In the third act, Jacqueline gets into two arguments with Lloyd. The first is when he wants her to execute Thomas but she refuses. The second is when Constance saves New Albion, but Lloyd finds this stupid and thinks the story would be better as a tragedy. Jackie's the only one who can see his narrative, aside from Constance on occasion
  • Break the Badass: This happens to Constance when Thomas betrays her. But she doesn't let herself stay broken for very long.
  • Break Up Song: "Discussion 2" for Thomas and Constance.They get back together at the end of the album, though
  • Broken Ace: Arguably Jacqueline. She's all badass and intense, and in reality it still devastated over the lobotomization of her beloved girlfriend Dorothy.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Both the government and the resistance know where Constance lives.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: The album itself purposefully makes it as complicated as actually possible to tell what is part of the Show Within a Show and what's not.
  • CatchPhrase: It's a musical, so lyrics are often repeated, but:
    • "Bathe in The Fire" for John
    • "And now back to the New Albion Radio Hour!" for Lloyd
    • "The a lady" for Thomas
    • "Run, run away" for Constance
  • The Caper: The first few songs in the second act detail Constance and Thomas stealing the MCG.
  • Character Development: John goes from a regretful drunk to a heroic solider, and Constance stops ignoring her problems and the world around her.
  • City Noir: New Albion.
  • Cool Aunt: Jacqueline to Constance
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Jacqueline tells Constance that if she doesn't give the rebels the MCG, the government will kill her. About one minute later, Thomas tells Constance that if she doesn't give government the MCG then....the government will kill her. (In his defense, he truly is trying is trying to save her). Both times, Constance refuses and runs away
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: Lloyd remains composed and calm even when narrating how things go awry.
  • Cult: The Voodoopunks are also the rebellion.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All four main characters have had pretty rough lives.
  • Ditzy Genius: Constance is super smart, but tends to make her fair share of mistakes in the way of common sense
  • Defecting for Love: Thomas starts out as an undercover police officer, but he ends up joining the rebels to protect Constance. John does the same thing, although it's for a different kind of love.
  • Delinquent: Constance is only in her late teens or early twenties, but she's a mastermind thief.
  • Descent into Darkness Song: The Pitch starts out with a very catchy and upbeat tune. Then, about two-thirds of the way through, the music cuts out into a brief interlude that calls the dark nature of the super soldier program into the forefront before going back to the happy upbeat music.
  • Disappeared Dad: John is this to Constance.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: John does this after losing his wife and abandoning his daughter Constance.
    • Constance herself did this when she was in her early teens after losing both her parents in one way or another, but she's stopped by the time the the opera takes place, when she appears to be in her late teens to early/mid twenties.
  • Dystopia
  • Earworm: "Blood Red Dogs". Justified as it's meant to be, and narrate, a brainwashing song.
    Blood Red Leader: Ignore this damn music
    Stay focused instead
    Do not start singing, stop—
    Dolly oh oh we come dollay!
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: At the end of the third act, Constance suddenly gets the ability to save New Albion by singing a song. Lloyd Allen does not appreciate this
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: "Storyville Station"
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Jacqueline does this in the "Discussion 2"
  • Establishing Character Music: The 'run away' verse from "The Bust" was this for Constance before her Character Development in Storyville Station
    Constance: Run like the hunted
    Run like the coming, run like the sword will finally fall
    Run like the desperate, your last final minute
    Run like the end has come to call
    Run like the hours, the days all when counted
    Run like they past while dreamers slept
    Run like the fire, the winds of desire
    Run if you want to live again
    Run, taste the rain
    Run, from mistakes you've made
    Run, run away
    Run, and just embrace
    Run, the air, the pulse, the pain
    Run, run away
  • Fanfare: The Pitch from Act I.
  • Film Noir: It has many elements of this; City Noir setting, a Mafia of some kind, a MacGuffin, a baddass hero, etcedera.
  • Foreshadowing: "The Bust" foreshadows Constance's Character Development
  • For Great Justice: The reason why Thomas betrays Constance.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Jacqueline's plan to save New Albion. The Voodoopunks' song is perfectly successful in paralyzing the government's soldiers, but because the possessed soldiers start singing along with it, the effect soon spreads throughout the entire city.
  • Guile Hero: Constance. She even refers to herself as this in "Storyville Station"
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Jacqueline is willing to let the entire New Albion government's army be possessed forever if it means ending the war.
  • Grief Song: "The Green Room Pale", "The Wasteland", and "The Best of Times" all apply.
  • Heartbroken Badass: All three of the O'Brians. John became an unstoppable cyborg after his wife's death, Jacqueline took over the voodoopunk resistance in response to what happened to her girlfriend, and Constance was an extraordinary thief even before being betrayed by Thomas.
  • Heroic Neutral: Constance is this until she can't be.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: John and Jackie do this to protect Constance at the Battle of Cryer's Boulevard.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Constance is truly very selfless and brave, although you wouldn't have thought so at first.
  • "I Am" Song: The Green Room Pale. Doubles as a Grief Song.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: "Storyville Station" is this for Constance when she decides to "wake-up" to the world around her.
  • Idiot Ball: They toss one of these around; Constance is The Smart Guy of the opera, being clever, crafty master thief....but decides to run around the city with the object everyone wants. Jacqueline is smart enough to figure out to use the MCG, not smart enough to realize it's probably not a good idea to posses people with it. Thomas tricked The Trickster (Constance), but five minutes after got kidnapped by a cult.
  • Idiot Hero: Downplayed as Constance is far from stupid, but she is clueless. To the point that she doesn't realize her aunt runs the resistance and her boyfriend works for the government. She loses this by the end, though.
  • Interactive Narrator: Lloyd Allen interacts with Constance in "The Underground", and Jacqueline several times.
  • Ironic Name: Constance is anything but constant.
  • It's All About Me: Constance is like this, a little bit, before her enlightenment. She despises the war because of the way it destroyed her family, and therefore tends to ignore the greater good.
    Constance:I don't care about your plan, I only care about my man!
  • "I Want" Song: "Discussion 1" is about Constance's desire to leave New Albion with Thomas.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: There's awhile there where Thomas doesn't seem so great, but Constance still can't deny that he's right in "The Bust" and "The Discussion 2"
    Thomas: And on this day, the party's over. It's time to wake up, there's a war to win!
  • Jerkass Realization: Constance acts selfishly throughout most of the album. Towards the end of the third act, she realizes this and also that she can't keep running from her problems and, as the opera puts it, living in a world of dreams. She has an "I Am Becoming" Song, "Storyville Station", which details this development.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Because of the unfair laws in New Albion, Constance steals from the high-society men who have left their wives and gives the goods to their ruined spouses.
  • Lovable Rogue: Constance.
  • Lemony Narrator: Lloyd is a more cheery and hammy example thanks to his job as a radio host, but his pulse doesn't waver when it comes to relate tragedies if he thinks they make an interesting story. He was ready to dispose of Thomas if it weren't for Jackie's intervention, and caused hers and John's deaths to compensate for Constance's Deus ex Machina song.
  • MacGuffin: The MCG device, wanted both by the Voodoopunks for their master plan, and for the Police to caught the Voodoopunks.
  • Madness Mantra: "Dolly oh oh we come dollay!"
  • Meaningful Echo: Several. Most notably,"Storyville Station"references "The Bust"
    • For starters
      • In "The Bust"
    Constance: Run like the hours, the days all when counted, run like they passed while dreamers sleep

    • Later in "Storyville Station"
    Constance:...And everyday just goes by like a dream
    • Also:
      • In "The Bust"
    Thomas: And on this day, the party's over. It's time to wake up, there's a war to win!
    • Later in "Storyville Station"
    Constance: Storyville Station can never take, the one who's here now and awake
    • Another example:
      • "The Bust"
    Constance: Run, taste the rain, run from mistakes you've made
    • Later in "Reunion"
    Jackie: All that's left to do is run
    Constance: We will not be running
  • Mental World: Not a literal example, but the plot of the show is that, metaphorically speaking, Constance lived in a world only in her head and refused to acknowledge any real events because she was to afraid to face the truth. She even calls herself out on this at the end after her Character Development
    Constance: Storyville Station can never take, the one who's here now and awake
  • Minor Character, Major Song: The Blood Red Dogs don't play a major role in the story, but their song is one of the most epic and intense.
  • The Mole: Thomas, Constance's boyfriend, is an undercover cop.
  • Neutral No Longer: Constance finally has to choose a side in the war.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Aunt Jacqueline tries to save New Albion, but nearly destroys it.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Thomas isn't evil, just misguided. He betrays Constance, but he is trying to do what's right.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Thomas realizes this about his betraying Constance. He did believe it was saving the city, but it still wasn't right. Plus, he also starts to see that the rebels might be in the right after all.
  • Not So Above It All: Constance sneaks around the soirees and steal like it's nobody's business—however, she's a Stepford Smiler in more then one respect and is actually does it to try to avoid the war
    • Jacqueline is about as badass as it comes and a BigDamnHero, but is still lamenting the death of the woman she loved
  • Odd Friend Ship: Between Jacqueline and Thomas, by the end
  • Outlaw Couple: Thomas and Constance seem to be this. but Thomas turns out to be The Mole
  • Papa Wolf: When John and Constance are reunited in the substation, John ends up turning on his own side to protect her.
  • Parental Abandonment: John left Constance with his sister Jackie to join the war effort after his wife is killed in a bombing.
  • Parental Love Song: "Daddy Left"
  • Parental Neglect: (Implied as it all happens before the album) It was accidental on the part of Jacqueline; when she's left having to raise her niece Constance, she genuinely DOES try to do a good job, but fails and Constance ends up spending much of her teenage years drinking on smoking to try to get past the supposed death of her parents.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: John becomes this by the end.
  • Plucky Girl: Constance to the extreme.
  • Quarreling Song: "Discussion 2" is all Constance and Thomas arguing
  • Rebel Leader: Jackie turns out to be one.
  • Rebellious Rebel: Constance's refuses her aunts offer to join the rebellion. To be fair, she refuses the government as well.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The voodoopunks hire Constance to steal the MCG
  • Refusal of the Call: Constance does this to Aunt Jackie in "The Bust"
  • Resigned to the Call: In "The Substation" Constance still doesn't want to be involved with the war but agrees to help the rebels anyway, if only so that she can get rid of the MCG and go home.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: A somewhat Downplayed example, but Constance is the Hot-Blooded Guile Hero Energetic Girl, to Thomas's Savvy Guy.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The rebellion in general.
    • Also, Constance's career as a thief. Sure, she's breaking the law, but she's Just Like Robin Hood, since she does it to help the women of New Albion.
  • Setting Introduction Song: "New Albion 5" sets the theme for the whole opera, and "The Thief" sets the theme for Constance's character and the second and third act.
  • Show Within a Show: It's all told as if it's a radio broadcast. Until it turns out the players are real and they "change the narrative"
  • Sibling Rivalry: They end up as a Sibling Team, but before that, John and Jacqueline were this almost to Cain and Abel territory, except that both of them were good-hearted, just on opposite sides of the war. However, it should be noted that while Jacqueline was the Rebel Leader and John the government's secret weapon, they never fought directly against each other, being as John didn't know Jacqueline was a rebel and Jacqueline thought John was dead
  • Sibling Team: John and Jacqueline, by the end of the album
  • The Smart Girl: Constance is the smartest member of their team, which is saying a lot considering her teammates aren't at all dumb themselves.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Constance
  • Stepford Smiler: Constance plays this trope with two layers—Number 1, she flirts with people at parties, and then takes their money. Number 2, she forcing herself to ignore the world around her as to not have to think or feel or really live.
    • Lloyd Allen seemed pretty trustworthy over the radio.
  • Super-Soldier: Freedom Corps will make you a new man! By replacing various bits and limbs with iron parts. John is apparently the only one who survived the process.
  • This Cannot Be!: Constance's reaction to finding out Thomas betrayed her.
    Constance: This isn't real, this isn't happening.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Jacqueline comments on how much happier Constance is after being reunited with her long-lost father.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Constance again; she loses her selfishness and risks her life to save the city.
  • Truth Serums: Putting it in the water supply under Parliament is what kicked off the revolution.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Thomas
  • Unlikely Hero: Constance, a Delinquent thief, saves the city.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Lloyd Allen turns out to be this, but he starts out as an All-Knowing Singing Narrator
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jacqueline's attempts to save New Albion nearly destroy it.
  • Wham Line: "And on the day we come, it's over," coming from Thomas, revealing his affiliation with the government.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jacqueline and Thomas feel this way about Constance, and her occasional selfishness, throughout the opera until the end when she does the right thing.
  • World of Badass: Rebels, soldiers, thieves, spies, gangs of orphaned children....yep, seems to fit the bill.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Defied by Jacqueline when the story calls for her to execute Thomas. She decides that he's a good person despite working for the government, and refuses to go along with it.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Voodoopunk's brainwashing song was only meant to stop the Red Dogs Army by mind wiping their minds, but the soldiers can't stop chanting which causes the effects to spread like a virus all over the city. This was foiled by Constance singing another song into the MGC transmission to restore their minds.