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So, what exactly is all this "Components on Campus" malarkey anyway?

"Components on Campus" is the mischievous undertaking of two American college students who can't help lovin' "Starlight Express". "Starlight Express", or "Stex", if you're feeling chummy, is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical dominated by anthropomorphic trains.

Trains, you say?

Trains indeed. In the most unique stage extravaganza, grown men and women don roller skates and lycra to bring us a tale about lovable vehicles that sing, dance, search for spiritual enlightenment and confound us with their sexuality. Still going strong in Germany, the show just finished a two-decade tradition in London. At one point Stex also ran for several very meaningful minutes on Broadway.

So what, in theory, is the joy of Stex?

It's elementary, really. "Starlight Express" may very well be the most ludicrous piece of theatre ever produced by homosapiens. It's sick, it's disturbing, it's often infantile and it's sweetly obscene. Its irreverence is, in effect, its allure. What other musical features roller derby as part of the choreography? Where else in the realm of the stage will you find characters like "Greaseball" and "Bobo"? How often does a non-human cast of characters get to float a big name like Andrew Lloyd Webber (no, guess again...)? Our point, dear reader, is that a major show like "Starlight Express" doesn't just rattle down the tracks every day.

So maybe now you're saying "OK, I'll swallow the Stex thing. But who are these Components?"

That's a very good question, Timmy. The components are five tertiary characters who follow a more important train--Electra--around the stage. Electra has a song, his components sing back-up. Electra does something cool, the components jump about and draw more attention to him. And that's pretty much all she wrote. They barely even have any lines to say. Poor bastards.

We started working with the components in our fanfiction, mostly because their personalities are so very up-for-grabs. Honestly, how can others discern anything of one's individuality if all one ever admits is "I am Wrench, Electra's repair truck"? In working with this dubious electric quintet, we were able to ignite an all new, very personal side of Stex fandom. This is how "Components on Campus" began. When the compatible powers of Kae (nefarious cartoonist who wants to rule the world) and Mudslide (fabulous web-puppy) combine, the result is a little slice of the internet that other just-plain-twisted fans of the theatre might very well find pleasantly palatable.

As a general statement, we wish for readers to know that the components' adventures in college are all very interpretive. We realize that (ughh...) that we might get mail from cranky purists, itching painfully about how Volta and Wrenchy never dated in the show, how Purse was never a cross-dressing pole-dancer and how Joule would never--NEVER--wear a headband, what were we thinking??!

The fact is, fellow musical buffs, that all fanfiction is a personal and imaginative scene. Everybody's got their own ideas about what those funsters do when they're not entertaining us onstage, or on TV, or within the pages of a book. Everyone's got their story, and everybody's right. This is our story, and it's got lots of components in it.

So sit back, theatre fans and Trainiacs alike! It's going to be a strange journey, and a wicked-spiffy ride...