- This article is about the theater group. For other similar uses, see Ember Island (disambiguation).
|"Ugh! My mother used to take us to see them. They butchered Love amongst the Dragons every year."|
|— Zuko to Team Avatar.|
The Ember Island Players were a local acting troupe who performed at the Ember Island Theater, which was Ember Island's only theater. They did not have a reputation for quality acting, but they took themselves seriously and almost always packed the house.
The Ember Island Players were all professionals, however their pay was relatively low. Almost all of them wished to advance to a greater stage. Their plays featured overly-dramatic acting and dazzling special effects. They performed The Boy in the Iceberg, written by Earth Kingdom playwright Pu-on Tim. They also frequently performed - or "butchered", according to Zuko - the play, Love amongst the Dragons. When Zuko was young, his mother used to take their family to see their plays.
Characters portrayed in The Boy in the Iceberg
A list of the characters portrayed by the actors in the play, in order of appearance:
The actress who played Katara was much more curvy and older in comparison to the real Katara. Unlike the real Katara, Actress Katara was always lamenting and was preoccupied with hope. She had a more dramatic voice than Katara, expressed her feelings greatly toward everyone, especially Aang. Unlike the real Katara, who at the time was conflicted about her feelings for the Avatar, she was madly in love with Zuko and saw Aang like a brother. She overreacted to almost everything, frequently breaking into bouts of sobbing. Although Team Avatar, namely Katara, displayed dislike for her acting skills, the Fire Nation locals expressed much enthusiasm toward her and the play in general.
The actor who played Sokka served as the comedic character in the play, was much thinner and older than the real Sokka, and had buck teeth, a big top-knot rather than a warrior's wolf tail and hair around it, something which Sokka did not have until Book Three. While the real Sokka seemed to like his performance, he did not like how the script delegated him to comic relief. Most of his jokes were centered on hunger and meat, a comic exaggeration of Sokka's love of food. With the help of Suki, Sokka sneaked backstage and gave the actor some jokes that he felt were more himself. The actor liked them and spontaneously used them in the play, to the delight of the audience and to the annoyance of the other actors.
The person who played Aang was a young woman, much to Aang's displeasure. She was acrobatic and her catchphrase in the play was "Yip-Yip!", although it was used as a trigger for the Avatar State rather than a command for Appa to fly. She was much more perky and outgoing than the real Aang and she seemingly enjoyed playing pranks on other people. Aang being played by a woman was a reference to a common practice in animated shows to select an older woman to play the voice of a young boy, as well as a reference to the fact that in most live plays of Peter Pan, Peter Pan was played by a female, as well as Bart Simpson from The Simpsons. Her character was bald, but her two-toned head indicates that she was wearing a bald cap. When Katara and Suki were searching in the village for the vanished Aang, she was seen along with Actor Toph promoting the play.
Although the real Zuko thought he was too "stiff and humorless", the actor who played Zuko did a fairly accurate representation, except for the fact that his scar was on the wrong side, and at one point his hair had grown ridiculously long in comparison to the real Zuko. His hair was first shown tied up, followed by being extremely long, and finally spiky. He wore a sort of skull cap covering part of his head to replicate Zuko's scar. His portrayal of Zuko revolved around his search for his honor and he was also revealed to have been in love with Katara.
The actor playing Iroh was used exclusively for comic relief, and he portrayed Iroh as a useless glutton. He had a strange obsession with cake instead of tea. He was violently betrayed by Zuko, who felt that the play's portrayal was not far from the truth. Nick.com used a screencap of actor Iroh for Iroh's main profile picture rather than a screencap of Iroh himself.
The actor playing Toph was an enormous, muscular man. Unlike the others, Toph actually adored this portrayal of herself much, claiming "I wouldn't have cast it any other way!" Actor Toph 'saw' by releasing a "sonic wave", a loud shriek, from his mouth while the real Toph 'saw' by feeling the vibrations in the earth. When Katara and Suki were searching for Aang, he, along with Actress Aang, was seen in the village promoting the play. He was a reference to Toph's earliest character design.
In the play, Azula was portrayed as actually being one of the two "good guys". She did not appear evil or conniving at all. She had a more masculine voice and was clearly older. She had a rather bombastic way of talking and she lacked the real Azula's cunning and cruelty. Actress Azula wore pink clothing and some of her features were exaggerated like her fingernails and makeup. She took a crash course in kung fu in preparation for her role, as did Actor Zuko.
Actress Ty Lee
Actress Ty Lee was seen only for a couple moments and was depicted as an overweight ballerina. The only notable differences between her and Ty Lee were her wider frame, her lack of acrobatics and her fighting methods (she blocked people's chi by kissing her finger and touching them with it).
Actress Mai was seen briefly. Her outfit greatly resembled Mai's, though the actress' had a sad face on it. Unlike Mai, she kept her stilettos in her buns, and her hair covered her eyes. Her hair buns were also much larger, so weapons could be kept inside.
Actress Yue was seen briefly. Unlike Princess Yue, this actor had her braids attached to her hair loopies. Her dark-rose dress had many accessories like bows and flowers on it, also being made to be very long. Actress Yue was seen riding on a moon-shaped prop off stage, bidding Actor Sokka good-bye and answering to his question of eating pickled fish when they kissed, while the real Sokka broke into tears and quieted Suki, much to her jealousy.
Actor Ozai had a longer beard and donned face-paint. He wore a crown that looked similar to the one the real Ozai wore when he proclaimed himself the Phoenix King. His depiction of the Fire Lord was markedly "hammed-up", as he acted with exaggerated motions and spoke his lines in a melodramatic voice.
Actress Suki was only seen once without any lines. She was portrayed the most accurately in the play, although some of her features, like her headdress, were exaggerated. Actor Sokka was shown asking her if his dress made his "butt look fat".
Actor Bumi was seen for a short while. He wore a stuffed body suit over his own body to match the muscles of the real Bumi and donned a large hat decorated with colorful feathers. Unlike the real Bumi, who tended to speak in riddles, he seemed to have a rhyming scheme.
Actor Jet was seen in only two scenes. He was shown flooding a village in an attempt to impress Actress Katara, whereas the real Jet did so to rid the valley of the Fire Nation. He ascended a rope with Katara, who commented on how bad he was in a seductive voice. He "died" later on when a hollow rock prop landed on him during his frenzy beneath Lake Laogai. In the Lake Laogai scenes, he sported hooks for hands, instead of wielding his usual hook swords, and wore glasses to make his eyes look big, to give off the impression that he was hypnotized. He was also seen chewing on a flower rather than his trademark piece of wheat.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book Three: Fire (火)
- On Nick.com, a different design for Actress Aang is used. The one used is a small boy (the same one who told Zuko his scar was on the wrong side during the second intermission).
- The play depicts Azula killing Aang in Ba Sing Se, even though the citizens of the Fire Nation were made to think that it was Zuko.
- Actor Zuko was voiced by Derek Basco, brother of the real Zuko's voice actor Dante Basco.
- Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Josh, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 18, 2008). "The Ember Island Players". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 17. Nickelodeon.
- From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Ember Island Players.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
- Eagan, James (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (May 6, 2005). "Jet". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.