Monday, December 25, 2006

MERRY CHTISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

We at Makeshift would like to take this time to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happ Holidays. We look forward to seeing you at RUMPELSTILTSKIN, which open Jan 20 at The Coolidge Corner Theatre!
In the mean time grab some nog, be with family and friends and wonder why it has not snowed in new England yet!
We have not heard from Happ and Nero for quite some time, but rest assured our fearsome twosome are doing fine. Nero's mother called and relayed a message and they are fine and Nero is taping their holiday message which they plan to post. Something about the fantastic four/doom/poopy country. Needless to say his mom was beside herself that he was not home and her phone call was difficult to translate. We did receive a new set of encyclopedias at the office for Professor Happ that we are assuming are a Christmas gift, but they came with no return address.
DRINK, DRINK, MERRY, MERRY!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No rest for the wicked...

Yes I said wicked.

Why did I listen to our so called "Professor." I should have known better! My Mother raised me better. Since I did his bidding like an unwitting Anakin to his pretentious Emperor there has been nothing but trouble. This is SO much worse than our trip to China. That was just the tip of the ice-burg that sunk the Titanic and I just want to let go. I am not happy.

So now we are in (CENSORED) and staying in some one's barn. They must have a wireless connection in the house because I was able to log on to the net. Since we have another short period of down time I have been doing a little background check on one Professor P. Happ and his so called degrees. I did a bit of investigating on line and I have come across some information that leads me to doubt some of the Prof's claims. I will have more information on this later. He keeps snagging my laptop to look up information on the story of RUMPELSTILTSKIN. It's all his fault that I won't be there for the show, and that I missed Thanksgiving, and now it looks like I will miss my first Christmas ever!! GRRRR!

Every once in a while I get a treat though. For instance since we are currently staying in a barn in (CENSORED) we are having to share the space with some farm type critters. Namely there are 2 cows. I have named Ethel and Merman. We have been hiding out here for a few days and every once in a while the house dwellers come out to throw some hay around but we have been able to stay out of sight. Last night the Prof. was eyeing Ethel in an odd way and he asked me if she was a cow? I told him yes and they say MOOOOO can you say MOOOO Prof.? He game me his usually dirty look and went back to eyeing her. He has not been able to sleep much and he gets really weird when he does not sleep. Finally, with out even looking at me he asks me to get him a glass of milk. I said "OK Professor right after I make some cookies aperate, and the Chickens outside tap dance to MMM BOP by Hanson." The humor of that must have been lost on him because he just turned to look at me with his blank stare. "No, NOOOOOO WAY." I said. There was no way I was going to go near the business end of Ethel she is a meanie. Merman maybe, but only if I was very, VERY desperate and had the biggest bowl of Fruity Pebbles ever waiting for me. I tell him he is on his own with this one. He whined for a bit and asked what kind of Squire was I? I told him I was the bitten, bruised, missing Christmas kind that was going no where near Ethel. He used a few more big words and waited a bit and when he realized I had no clue as to what he said he grumbled and grabbed his water bottle and headed towards Ethel.

Not only was it obvious that he didn't know what he was doing he didn't even to bother warming his hands first. As soon as he reached for the, uh...dispensers, yeah... she jumped and he freaked. He went to stand up but lost his footing and stumbled backwards into Merman. She flicked her tail at him to soo him away and he said something about open rebellion and jerked around and fell back wards in to a yuck pile of you know what. It's been 3 hours since that little scene and he still refuses to talk to me. I really tried not to laugh...really I did. Oh well.

By this weekend we should be near Latveria where Dr. Doom is from!! I am very excited because I didn't know it was a real place. I wonder if they will have tours like the one you can take in NY where they show you where the Baxter building should be and Peter Parker's Apartment. The Prof tell me I am pronouncing it wrong but what does he know, he has never read a comic in his life.

Wish us luck friends,

Nero
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Transient

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

tran · sient [L transi(éns) (nom. sing.), prp. of transīre to pass by, lit., go across]:
-adjective
1. not lasting, enduring, or permanent; transitory.
2. lasting only a short time; existing briefly: transient authority.
3. staying only a short time: the transient guests at a hotel.
-noun
4. a person or thing that is transient, esp. a temporary guest, boarder, laborer, or the like.

By some profoundly bizaare coincidence, transient happened to be the word of the day on Dictionary.com. As you shall very shortly discover, it has a tragically unfortunate relevance to the present situation in which Nero and I now find ourselves.

As Nero may have mentioned in his latest post, we have encountered a minor setback: despite the rapant spread of terrorism, weapons trafficking, and illicit drug production around the globe, Interpol has, it seems, deemed our own private little operation of far greater significance. Normally this wouldn't be a problem; Interpol officers primarily facilitate the rapid communication of critical intelligence between its member nations, while the capture and interrogation of potential suspects is left to local authorities. However, we face a situation that is far from normal: according to the information Nero gathered during Operation Booksale, Interpol is apparently operating an unofficial shadow branch of agents whose primary concern is the literary security of the world! Bah! Scandal, I say! I'm not sure who Ronald K. Noble thinks he is, but he is certainly no scholar!

According to Nero, we are being pursued by Detective Inga Litmonger, whom he describes as (and I quote directly), "the most formidable agent of the dark side of the [Interpol] force since Darth Traya!" Someone, I think, has been playing too many video games.

At any rate, Nero and I must keep on our feet to stay one step ahead of Detective Litmonger and her oppresive plot to seize The Book and lock it away forever. Fortunately, the influence of Interpol only extends as far as its member countries! Unfortunately, the nearest country that is not a member of Interpol is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. I am currently weighing our options.

As updates to this blog and to the head office of Makeshift Theatre Co. are bound to be sparse as we dash madly from one city to another, I can finally use the time spent in transit to comb over each marvelously beautiful page of The Book! I am currently in the process of compiling my report on the Aarne and Thompson's Type 500 folktale in preparation for MTC's upcoming production of Rumplestiltskin in January. I highly recommend you mark your calendars now, as this production is bound to reek of scholarly insight and primary source material!

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Men on the run.......

Hi all,

This has been a harrowing week and it does not look like w will be getting back to the states anytime soon. If you see our pictures on milk cartons don't worry we are ok, if you see are pictures on wanted posters then we might need some help.

It turns out that Europe has an international police force that focus's on Library theft. Who knew?!?! I have learned from the the police scanner that I, uh...., borrowed, that we have one of the biggest names in interpol book theft on our tail. Her name is Detective Inga Litmonger, or as I have taken to calling her Darth-Inga the Destroyer. The Prof considers her his new nemisis.

This lady is scary, cruel, and down right persistent. We have more than one narrow escape, and we have not stayed in the same place for more than one night. Each morning The Profesor Happ points to a different spot on the map and says we go there. Then just looks at me to lead the way and make the travel plans while he disappears in the book that got us into this mess in the first place. At this point I have no idea where we are... Speaking of the Prof...he seems to be getting more and more paranoid.

I wish I was home. They have started rehearsals for Rumpelstiltskin which open next month, and I don't know what they will do without me!!

Nero
Fugitive/Homesick/Tired of staying in scary hostels...
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

German Librarians are deceptively vicious....

Hi Makeshifters.

We are still in Germany. All the Prof. will let me say is that we are near the Luxembourg border. This has been the worst trip I have even taken. I think my Mom thinks I am dead. Seriously who would have thought that one book would create such an uproar. Something about German heritage and sovereignty.

Getting the book was a nightmare that I will never forget. I don't think I will ever be able to set foot in a library again. Honestly! I was able to disarm the security system and repel in from a window in the ceiling. The security guards were all in other parts of the library. My second obstacle after the security system was going to be the dogs. The Prof had said he would take care of it and that he had a fool proof plan. That should have been my first warning bell. He said he would get some Tranquilizers and fold them in some bratwurst and I could throw them down to the dogs and they would go to sleep. So before I left for the library he handed me a bag and said this would take care of the dogs. I asked him what he used for the tranqs and he told me that we did not have time for him to explain it in layman's terms and that I had better be on my way. So I throw the Brauts down and the dogs are all over them. I wait and after a while they lay down and I thought "hey! I am in the clear!" Oh how wrong I was.

Soon as I hit the ground and start to head to the book room I hear the growling of unfriendly puppies behind me. I look and see two cujo wannabees barreling down on me. I have never run that fast in my life. I headed right through the book room, past the book not looking back. Well, ok, I looked back once. I looked back just enough to run smack dab into the largest women I have even seen. We are talking wrestler huge with a uni brow that cast a shadow that completely covered yours truly. I wasn't to worried when I realized that she was just the Head Librarian and that in spite of her immense stature I should not have to worry about her. I paid the price for that as well. I was so gone tharn by the sight of Amazon Librarian that I completely forgot about the evil puppies who proceeded to pounce on me and suddenly I was wrestling for my life. I managed to ditch my coat (a gift from my mother. She is never going to forgive me.) which helped me ditch the puppies for the time being. My plan was to dart past the giantess and just escape any way I could and the Prof. can get his own stinking book.

Come to find out that I was not far wrong about The Uber-Librarian with the wrestler thing because she clothes-lined me as I started past her. BAM! I was flat on my back and about to be squashed by a ginormous German librarian. The only thing I could think of was the shows we have done and how I would miss them and all you guys in the audience when it hit. Could it work? It works in all the shows!! I quickly pointed over her far shoulder and shouted at the top of my lungs "HEY, LOOK OVER THERE!" It worked. She looked and I wasted no time and ran in the opposite direction back towards the book room and smack dab back in to the hell hounds. My saving grace is that 2 security guards show up and proceed to fire their tazer guns at me, but missed and hit both the dogs. I kid you not, it smelled horrible! They went down whimpering and I charged the guards and all 3 of us went crashing into the glass case that held the Professor's coveted book which happened to fall right into my lap. Again I wasted no time as I got up and sped for the nearest exit only to suddenly go riged and fall flat on my face unable to move. My body happened to roll just so I could see Uber-Librarian holding a smoking tazer gun with a satisfied smile on her face. She picked me up like a rag doll and stuffed me in a broom closet presumably to keep me safe while she tended to the two guards.

There must have not been a full charge in the tazer as I came out of it pretty quick and was able to send you that short film which I posted live from the scene. Also while in the closet I found out what happened with the brauts that started this mess in the first place. I found an empty bottle in the bratwurst bag that Prof. Happ and given me. I guess his version of tranquillizers was ny-quill. But he messed it up because the bottle was in German and bought day-quill and thereby sealing my fate.

I dug out my video camera so I could say my final goodbyes and as they approached I flew from the closet and down the far stairs sliding down the banister out a first floor window and into the bushes outside just as I heard those funny Euro sirens approaching. The Prof. pulled up on his rented moped and I handed him the book which he snatched and held in the air shouting "VICTORY!!" and drove off. I took me 5 min of running after him yelling before he finally remember to stop and let me on the back. I guess we looked to pathetic for the police to stop us since they passed right by us.

That my friends is the whole truth. If I'm lying, I'm dying. If it was not for one Pamela Moore and her connections we would surely be in the gulag right now. The fact that Herr Professor calls her a Doctor makes me doubt his credentials.

Note to self....do some research on makeshift's resident Dramaturge when fully healed....also send note to Mom begging forgiveness and include German chocolates...Write home office and ask to be paid, then ask for a raise....then write this Rolf guy and tell him what a horrible friend he is to the professor and that he owes me a coat.

Nero
intern/criminal/man with an un-natural fear of Librarian
nero@makeshifttheatre.com
www.makeshifttheatre.com

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sincere Thanks

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

I bring you this posting with the utmost gratitude, as Nero and I have been aided by none other than one of your number! I must relay, on both our behalf, our most sincere thanks to Dr. Pamela Moore, who (despite Nero's voiciferous objections) is not only a real doctor, she is also a dignified professor and lauded practitioner of theatre performance in the greater Los Angeles area. As per her recommendation, which she emailed to me, Nero and I snuck our way across Germany to a tiny community about an hour out of Munich called Benedictburen, where we made our rendezvous with an academic acquaintance of hers named Kristina Maier.

The Maier household is really quite quaint and wonderful, although the family does have an unfortunate habit of granting temporary residence to transient pedestrians, the inevitable consequence of which is simply that Nero and I must share a bedroom with a tourist from Amsterdam who smells suspiciously like vegetables.

Nero sends his regards and a rather dismal thumbs-up; he is currently incapable of posting updates as his hands are wrapped entirely in gauze. In all honesty he needs plaster casts, but we wouldn't dare set foot in a hospital, as we wouldn't want to take any action that could potentially endanger our safe, albeit belated, return to the United States with The Book securely in our possession. I am grateful he understands this.

Needless to say, Nero and I missed the experience of a traditional American celebration of Thanksgiving while here in Germany; it required a rather ambiguous call to Nero's mother to explain that we were both okay without really explaining who "we" were, in the event that German intelligence was listening. I'm not entirely sure she understood our message; she either thinks we're farming poultry in Albania, or she thinks or we've joined a cult. We'll be sure to set her straight when we return to the states.

At any rate, I hope everyone had a truly marvelous Thanksgiving feast. For all the things for which we could possibly be thankful, Nero and I would both like to thank, once again, Dr. Pamela Moore and Kristina Maier.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Success! . . . partially . . .

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

I must keep this as brief a post as possible as Nero and I are trying to stay on the move. Operation Booksale was a resounding success, but it was not easy; indeed, it is still not easy. Nero inadvertantly tripped one of the alarms and now we're being pursued by the German police. Because of their patrols, we missed our train to Frankfurt and have consequently missed our return flight home to Boston.

I know you're all concerned for my fate, fellow scholars, and your concern is appreciated. Do not, however, contact any form of law enforcement, be it German or otherwise, as the mission cannot be completed until The Book resides safely in the offices of Makeshift Theatre Co. For those of you who pray, prayers are appreciated. For those of you who can provide a hideout, hideouts are appreciated more.

With that being said, Nero and I really must run. There's a . . . oh, no . . . going now.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Profeessor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makesaoehf 0a8 h ASDJFd

Thursday, November 23, 2006

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

We at Makeshift Theatre co would like to take this chance to wish you and yours a happy and filling Thanksgiving. We would also like to disavow any knowledge of the goings on of our alleged dramaturge and our intern. We are not liable of any of their actions.



Monday, November 20, 2006

I'M GONNA DIE!!!

I'm gonna spend the rest of life in a german prison all on account of a stupid book. How do I let myself get talked into these things?!?! What was I thinking. I even told the professor that we should call Rolf to get permission. But he said he didn't want to disturb him.

It was lovely typing this blog for all of you and seeing you at the shows. Please write me while I am in Prison.

the professor is yelling at me now. He says he has a fool proof plan to get past the dogs. Rember makeshifters that this is the guy that splinted my leg because of rug burn. He won't even let me take it off for the "mission" tonight.

Nero
Prisoner #304/jail bird/His mothers biggest disappointment...
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com
www.makeshifttheatre.com

Finalized Plans

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

Nero and I have finalized our plans. I cannot go into great detail now, but suffice to say that the Stadtbibliothek is kept under the tightest of guard, including (but certainly not limited to) cameras, motion detectors, retina- and voice-print checkpoint security, armed patrolmen, and vicious, nasty, horrendously malnourished guard dogs. As the security is virtually impenetrable, I have decided to stay behind while Nero conducts the liberation of The Book himself. You know, to increase his likelihood of success.

My plan is infallible; I have even accounted for the inevitable mishaps bound to be made by a bumbling intern. By the time the staff of the Stadtbibliothek realize that The Book is missing, Nero and I shall already be travelling anonymously on the most direct course back to the United States! We've even picked out travel aliases: I'm "Dr. Livingston" and Nero is "Steve Rogers."

At great risk to the secrecy and security of the culminating stage of Operation Booksale, I am tremendously excited (but, nevertheless, ever so slightly apprehensive) to regale you with the sum entirety of what information regarding the operation I can publically afford to release to general consumption:

The Operation shall begin in twenty-four hours.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Friday, November 17, 2006

Operation Booksale, Phase II

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

I bring you magnificent news! Nero and I secured our cover as American dramaturgists at the Staatstheater on Tuesday (after an unfortunately late arrival; we fell three days behind our itinerary when Nero simply had to make a stop in Gießen, so I struck him repeatedly with a newspaper. It's much like housetraining a puppy, you see; negative behaviour, negative reinforcement) and we immediately began Phase I of Operation Booksale, which has, much to my delight, produced a great deal of intelligence on our target! Our final plans are coming together . . .

I dare not delve into great detail in such a public forum, but I am too excited not to share at least some information with you! Although you should remember, fellow scholars, that everything described here is still a machination in its formative stage; should any of this be leaked to a possible informant, the entire operation would be ruined. Remain stalwart against traitors, fellow scholars; we seek to liberate The Book for the glory of all enlightenedkind!

Nero managed to obtain this marvelous floorplan of the Rathaus here in Kassel (the exterior of the building is pictured immediately beneath it), and he needed only minor medical attention afterward; I told him continuously as I applied the splint that his sacrifices for the sake of academia were greatly appreciated (it's much like housetraining a puppy, you see; positive behaviour, positive reinforcement). At any rate, he's returning to his post tomorrow at noon to secure the much more tightly protected floorplan of the Stadtbibliothek itself. I'll be buying more gauze.

We plan to gather intelligence for another four days, at which point we should be able to infiltrate the Stadtbibliothek undetected. Immediately after we retrieve The Book, we'll return to Frankfurt to catch our Wednesday flight back to Boston, placing us at Nero's house just in time for Thanksgiving! Brilliant, I tell you! My genius is unstoppable!

Well, the time has come, fellow scholars, for you to excuse me; I feel I must return to my normal post at the Staatstheater as the full time staff here has begun to eye me suspiciously. Perhaps the maniacal laughter was a bit too much. Yes. Too much.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's German for breaking and entering??

OK!!

I have some serious worries about our dear professor. We did get out of the airport, but we had missed our reservations at the place Makeshift had booked for us. Worst of all there was a David Hasselhoff fan club convention in town and every place we went to was already over booked. I love knightrider as much as the next guy but how many Germans in black leather jackets and too tight black jeans can one person stand?!?!?!

So there we were without a place to stay and hardly any money with us. We even tried going back to the airport but they would not let us back in. I am not sure exactly what they said but I am sure it wasn't polite. We spent the first night sitting on bench somewhere down town...strasse something-or-other. I don't think Prof. Happ had ever been camping in his life! By morning he had this look in his eyes. Honestly, it scared me a little. He told me to wait at the bench and watch our stuff and that he would be back in a moment. I tried to stop him but he wheeled on me with a "The professor has spoken!" I started laughing until I realized he wasn't kidding. Then I started laughing even more. He stood there with his finger in the air for a bit longer which made it all the more hilarious and then stormed away mumbling again.

So I waited, and waited, and waited. Then I waited a bit more. He finally came back just after sunset. He told me to grab our things and follow him. I tried to ask him if he had found us a place to stay but he just kept shh-ing me in annoying way. We finally reached this nice little house that looked as if no one was home. The Prof dragged me around back and asked if I had ever picked a lock. Picked. A. Lock. This coming from a guy who dang near cried because I pulled a tag off his pillow and then burred the whole thing in his back yard to cover up the evidence. I looked at him a min to wait for the joke but he just starred at me with those crazy eyes. I stood up and started to walk away because I could never explain to my mother why I was in a German prison. He pulled me back down and explained that it was the house of an old friend of his and that we were allowed to use it. He explained it all: His friend Rolf had studied with him and he left message that while he was away the Prof. Could use his house. The only problem was that he had mistakenly taken the extra key with him and set the alarm by mistake. He also said that once we were inside we would have to keep all the blinds closed to the sun didn't fade his carpet while he was gone. Also we were only to come and go at night, through the back door.

Well that finally made sense. So, thanks to my years of experience playing Splinter Cell and other Tom Clancy video games I was able to pick the lock and disarm the security system. I don't understand those people who say video games teach you nothing. The Prof asked if I could do stuff like this all the time. I said sure. He again went all crazy eyes. It was a nice house. We did have to leave in a hurry. A car pulled up in the drive and the Prof. Went crazy saying he had left a surprise gift and that if we were here when his buddy Rolf arrived it would ruin it. So we vacated out the back door in hurry. I hope his friend enjoyed the gift.

So now we are on a train to this library to find this "book", or as the Prof. says "THE Book." The Prof asked if I could pull the schematics off the internet. I told him it was probably in a restricted or locked file. He asked if I could "mack it?" I looked at him for a second resisting the urge to laugh then asked snickering "Do you mean hack it?" "yes that can you do that?" I told him I could but that it was illegal and again brought up the idea of German prisons....He explained about how his friend Rolf worked for the library and had given him permission but had forgotten to give him the passcode. It seems to that this Rolf dude is pretty irresponsible.

So now the professor just keeps going over the schematics and sounding an awful lot like The Brain with his "yes!", "it will work!", "It shall be mine!" all accompanied by this pretentious giggling...Um, CREEPY!

I wanted to call the office, but he took my phone away.

I am beginning to question his intentions. Does anyone know any Germanish lawyers?

"I have a bad feeling about this."

~Nero
Merc for hire/evil henchman/in over his head...
www.makeshifttheatre.com
nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Operation Booksale

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

I write to you today from the temporary housing Nero and I are sharing on Nikolausberger Weg in Göttingen, just a few minutes' walk from the library at the Max Planck Institut. We are borrowing this facility from a scholarly colleague of mine, a fellow professor and friend we have not yet met, and, although I'm sure he would, upon our meeting, be perfectly amicable and more than happy to volunteer his personal residence to us to aid in our marvelous quest, I am in no hurry to make the initial introduction. Not yet, at any rate. Nero and I are operating "beneath the radar," so to speak; we must keep as low a profile as possible, using reconnaissance, subterfuge, and other fancy French words to keep the local populace blissfully unaware of our revised mission objective. And using fancy French words just happens to be my forté.

A revised mission objective, you may ask? Oh yes, I tell you. Yes, indeed. Nero and I may have originally been sent to Göttingen to gather information about the fairytale Rumplestiltskin (identified as Type 500 in the Aarne-Thompson Folklore Classification System), but a thought occurred to me while we were being held in the Detention Center of the Frankfurt International Airport.

I suppose I should explain that entire mess first. It wasn't anything but a simple misunderstanding! You know, had Nero and I been in that same situation a mere century ago, no one would have thrown a fuss; why, in nineteenth-century Germany, a pig was an animal that commanded dignity and honor, so much so that it wasn't even called a pig! It was a boar! I was paying the Customs Agent a compliment, for crying out loud. You know, this is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the hardest part about being a linguist of any calibre at all: language changes, sometimes so quickly one can't keep up with it.

At any rate, before it was determined that we weren't really a threat to German national security, an epiphany came to me in the detention cell: why gather information on one paltry little fairytale when you could gather information on every paltry little fairytale from a single resource? Yes, fellow scholars, I speak of a document overflowing with primary sources, a holy grail of linguistic academia, a document so powerful and overwhelming that, once I wield its full power in my hands, I shall bring the intellectual community of the world to its knees! Behold, fellow scholars, for I shall invoke its name but once: the original 1812 publication of Kinder- und Hausmärchen, henceforth known as The Book, the only known surviving copy in the world, the very first, and most influential, collection of folktales and linguistic research from the Brothers Grimm!

Due to the extreme value and fragility of The Book, its exact whereabouts are kept secret at all times. It is so sensitive, in fact, that it is not even kept on public display; my sources inform me that it is located deep within a subterranean vault somewhere beneath Kassel itself. Surely this must enrage you, fellow scholars, to know that one of history's greatest repositories of knowledge is being hoarded in a dank cellar instead of being brought to the light of the world! Well, do not fester in foulness, fellow scholars; Nero and I aim to change that! We shall liberate the literature and bring it back to the Makeshift Theatre Company!

Our mission, which I have named Operation Booksale, shall start in the Stadtbibliothek of the Kassel Rathaus on Fünffensterstraβe (just four blocks from the Staatstheater, where we shall maintain our cover as interim American dramaturgists). From there, we hope to ascertain the location of the underground vault in which The Book is held and the sort of resistance we may expect to encounter. I've already made the appropriate reservations in Kassel for our internship at the Staatstheater and Nero and I are scheduled to travel on Friday from the Göttingen Bahnhof to the Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe Railway Station on the Deutsche Bahn AG's Hanover-Würzburg high-speed train. I anticipate a week of laying low in Kassel and reconnoitering the Rathaus, at which point we will have developed the contacts needed to infiltrate the Stadtbibliothek and begin our search.

As always, fellow scholars: when discussing secret plots on the internet, mum's the word. As my closing gift, I present to you a photograph that I obtained from the Göttingen public archives. It is the only photograph I have been able to find of The Book.

Wish us luck, fellow scholars.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Monday, November 06, 2006

And then there was Frankfurt....

Hi Makeshifters,

The morning after the last performance of SNOW, the Prof. and I headed out for Germany. Little did we know it was the night before that the problems began.

I guess Prof. Happ thought he would get back at me for the dunce cap I got him to wear for Halloween. (I have pics by the way, will try and post this week.) His plan for revenge involved closing the vent in my teeny little room and opening the window. Needless to say I woke of with a cold and sick as a dog. (why do they sick as a dog? In all my life I have never seen a dog with a cold.)
So, HAHA right? He wore a dunce cap and now I have the runniest nose in all of Heaven and Earth. My Mom said I was not to go on the trip, but Prof. Happ convinced her that he would take care of me and see that I got plenty of rest and fluids. He told her that there was no possible way he could make this trip with out me. That came as kind of a schocker because that was the nicest thing he has ever said about me. Then again it might have been because my mom had him pinned against a wall with a spatula in her hand threatening to wallop him on the head. But, she said she would let me go because she's an old softie. I should have stayed home...

There were no problems at Logan. We waited and I had my PSP to keep me company even though the Prof decided to take an interest and kept saying "Ooo get that guy!" and "Turn you fool, turn!!" I finally moved to the other side of the terminal and put in my ear phones. The flight was miserable because of my cold. I felt as if my head was gonna explode. On the plane we watched some action movie that I was in and out for thanks to the ny-quill. I mostly remember Prof. Happ explaining away everything in the movie as "impossible", "totally erroneous", and "this is the kind of tripe that keeps ending up in my netflix queue at home!" Funny thing is I don't remember putting any fish movies on the list. I have no idea what Tripe he is talking about. The rest of the flight was him going on about the trip and some book that is the end all and be all of fairy tale history and something other things....I moved to the bathroom so I could sleep in peace. After a while the stewardess made me go back to my seat. I guess the Prof. Didn't know I was gone for 20 min.

Now when we landed it got bad. The guy at customs spoke English about as well as we speak German. A much as I can figure out now he looked at me and Asked if I had a cold. Now the Prof. butted in with his German phrase book and spoke in his usual high falutin manner. I don't quite know what he said. All I know is that we have been locked in a quarantine holding cell in Frankfurt International Airport ever since. At least they locked us up with our stuff so I have my laptop which is how I am brining you this update.

The guys in the white coats just brought the Prof. Back from his 3rd physical exam. HEY!! Looks like they finally got a translater as well. Maybe we will be getting out of here soon. Good news is, I feel much better after a few days rest!

Below is all I have seen after 2 days in Germany..... Looks like were off to a great start. : /

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Nero
Production Assist./germaphobe/captive
Makeshift Theatre Co.
nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Never Trust Your Intern

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

As I slowly woke up this morning from what was, at the time, a delightful evening of merriment, I made the unfortunate realization that the wizard costume provided to me by Nero was not, in fact, as wizardly has he insisted.

Dünçe, as it turns out, is not the archaic franco-germanic word I thought it was; it just so happens that the umlaut was a pair of M&Ms and the cedilla a Willy Wonka Runts banana stuck close enough to the letters to cause the confusion. Clearly, the cap reads dunce (whose English etymology is still relevant today, rendering clarification futile), which is obviously Nero's pathetic attempt at some sort of interpersonal commentary on my understandably intimidating intellect. Nevertheless, this sort of prank is completely unacceptable, especially considering the social context in which it was conducted. I must teach Nero not to behave so inappropriately in the future. Oh yes. Nero shall find himself back in the Box of Education tonight.

As always, fellow scholars, we must maintain vigilance aganist the crude acts of laypeople across the globe as they attempt to befoul our reputation. In short, good boys and girls of academia: never trust your intern.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

From the staff...

As amused & confused as we are by the regular ramblings of our Production Assistant and self appointed Dramarturge, all of us here at Makeshift wanted to take this time to wish everyone a....
SCARY AND SAFE HALLOWEEN

Happy Samhain!

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

I have great news, fellow scholars, great news indeed: today is the pseudo-impromptu Makeshift staff's Fall Festival Holiday Party and I do, in fact, have a costume to wear! I had been so busy preparing for our upcoming expedition to Germany that I hadn't given my holiday costume an ounce of thought. Thankfully, however, my faithful and thoughtful assistant Nero had taken it upon himself to provide enough merry body-decor to clad an entire coterie of scholars! Sure, he may be a clumsy layman, but he's got a heart of gold.

They're good costumes, too; Nero is dressed as one Charles Brown, a tragic hero of great significance in the past half-century of American graphic literature. For me, he provided a magnificent wizard's robe and cap, adorned with the archaic form of the franco-germanic word dünçe (dün [Ang: dünedaan, Gm: dünhin]: one-thousand + majiçe [Gm: müßten, Fr: maiçe]: speckled cheese [frequently thought to be a powerful source of magic in medieval France]), defined as "worker of a thousand magiks" in its original meaning. It seems to be bringing the staff of MTC quite a lot of joy; whenever W. Andrew (he's requested I not use his first name) sees me in it, he can't stop laughing.

So as I prepare to enjoy this harvest festival with my good friends and companions, I wish all of you a spectacular Samhain and a happy Hallowmas.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

A Spooktacular Halloween!!

BOO!!!

I was going to post sooner but I was blinded for a few days after the Prof. Decided he was going to "protect" me from evil spirits by seasoning me. First he tried rock salt but then graduated to the table top shaker, which was what we had in the office. Why he couldn't dress up and go trick or treating with the rest of us is beyond me. At least now my sight has returned. I thought he might apologize but he just chastised me for looking up at the wrong moment and that he was trying to broaden my holiday knowledge....He is getting tricks for sure!!

I know Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Leggett and some others of the Makeshift family are getting together and watching some scary movies tonight and hoping to get tons of trick-or-treaters. It's amazing that these creepy movies keep appearing on Prof. Happ's netflix list....Can't imagine how that is happening...hmmmm.

I dressed as Charlie Brown for our 2nd annual Halloween costume contest. But I didn't win. :( We did see a mummy, a wicked awesome kimono, a lady bug and some other exciting outfits. Thanks to all who came out in spite of the nasty rain.

Ok, we are having some fun activities in the Makeshift offices today so I will keep this short! I bought the Prof. A dunce hat and told him it was a wizard hat. I can't wait to see how long it takes for him to figure it out. I told him if he didn't wear it I would tell Mr. Leggett who dumped the salt all over the office floor. TRICKED!!!

Nero
A.K.A. Charlie Brown/office assistant/hater of salt
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com
www.makeshifttheatre.com

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Importance of Salt

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

Tomorrow is the Second Annual Makeshift Theatre Company Costume Contest! The contest shall immediately follow the production of Snow White and shall be officiated by members of the cast. Christina Davis shall be judging the contest and, although she may not be a scholar, she is Snow White, which thereby certifies her competence in the field of costume-judgery. I heartily recommend your attendance not only because it is riotous fun, but also because I need someone to keep an eye on Nero; he keeps trying to participate despite the fact that this contest is strictly reserved for audience members.

Unfortunately, I shall have to miss the event as I have duties to which I must attend; specifically, I must spread salt across the entire MTC office to ward off evil spirits. Not that I put any credence in folklore of that ilk; it is quite obvious to even the most hopeless layperson that such things as "goblins," "orcs," and "rancors" are, despite Nero's protestations, completely fabricated. The practice of spreading salt, however, is as integral to the celebration of Hallowe'en as the Dewey Decimal System is to the organized classification of literature!

Hallowe'en (the shortened form of All Hallows' Eve, or Samhain in its Gaelic origin) was, at one time, a festival to celebrate the final harvest before the onset of winter; whatever agricultural produce was not harvested before Samhain was then left in the field to appease the appetite of the púca, a terrifying mythological creature of Celtic origin capable of changing its shape at will to the most horrifying thing its observer (or victim) could imagine; tangentially, it is from the word púca that the Irish get the phrase Pooky Night, their present-day pseudonym for the nocturnal celebration.

Hallowe'en did not arrive in America until the mid-nineteenth century, along with a massive influx of Irish immigrants in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine. At the time, Hallowe'en had already been modified from its Celtic origins, and it continued to evolve in American and Canadian culture. One practice that developed during this era was the sprinkling of salt on the heads of youngsters to ward away evil spirits while they prowled the neighborhood.

So, as you can clearly see, salt and Hallowe'en go hand in hand. Why, Hallowe'en without salt is like Christmas without trees! It's like Easter without eggs! It's like Boxing Day without boxes! It's like New Year's Eve without the New Year! So embrace the festival wholeheartedly, fellow scholars, and douse yourselves merrily in a generous helping of iodised sodium chloride!

Just make sure you cover your eyes before doing so; Nero can attest to the importance of that. As I told him after our little accident this morning, "Safety first!" I should probably go see if his swelling has gone down.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Monday, October 23, 2006

Worth a 1000 words....

Hi all Makeshift fans!

We will have to come up with some cool name for our fans. Makeshifters or something like that...I will ponder this when the Prof. is busy reading and studying and sumsuch thing. Which is most of the time.

In the mean time our last show of SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS is coming up at the Coolidge! It is also the big Costume contest!!

Untill you see the show, grab some egg-nog which is officially on the shelves, and enjoy some more pictures of SNOW from my fancy, uber sweet, cool camera!!













NERO,
cameraman extraordinar/Intern/Egg-nog lover
Makeshift Theatre Co.
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Monday, October 16, 2006

Just call me Peter Parker....

Hi all! Nero here,

I have been allowed to do the safety speeches at the Saturday morning shows again so I am very excited. I have seen a lot of people I remember from last year!! More importantly Mr. Rhodes gave me a camera so I could document all kinds of things from the shows to My journeys with the Prof.. So I thought I would take some time out form super starching the Professors underwear, and adding JASON VS. FREDDY to his netflix list for Halloween, to post some of the pictures I have taken.
This is Vinnie and Penny warming up before the show. They play Larry and Margaret. Larry and Margaret play The Queen, The Evil Queen, The Huntsman, The Mirror, and The Wizard At The Far Far End Of The Kingdom. ...Yeah, I know, it confuses me as as well, but it is funny to watch! Vinnie was having a hot tea that morning!

To the right is Christina Who has the honor of playing The title role of SNOW WHITE. It was also her birthday this past Sunday!! Happy Birthday Christina! With her is Laureen who has played Margaret for us Since ROBIN HOOD. Penny above is filling in for us for a few shows.
This picture I took during one of our dress rehearsals.

And here is de piece of resistance. This is the marquee of The Coolidge Corner Theater. If you look at the bottom you will see Makeshift Theatre! YEAH! It's like having your name up in lights, Kinda, Except it's not my name, and it's daylight, and there are no lights on.
If any of you get the chance you should go see the Coolidge. They have a grand history and just finished some renovation that make the lobby really amazing. Plus they are just a great bunch of people.

Well That's about it for me for this entry of Nero: Photo Journalist! I have been forced to bunk with the Professor for the time being. My Mom is pretty upset by that. I have a bad feeling about this whole library thing. I had a friend from Germany I met on The World ... Of Warcraft. He said that German libraians can be very strict. But Prof. Happ just keeps calling me Sancho andtells me to keep dreaming the impossible dream, and then he strikes this odd pose. I asked him if it's impossible, how do you dream it? Then he usually mumbles something under his breath, opens a book and he is away from the world for a while.
I also will be checking our travel plans and buying a German-English Dictionary after our experience in China. (see below)

I also ordered my Halloween costume for the 2nd Annual Costume Contest on the 28th! They better let me compete!!

~NERO
Production Asst./Jack of all trades/Costume contest winner (fingers crossed)
Makeshift Theatre Co.
nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Friday, October 13, 2006

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

I write to you today simply because I need a break from Nero. There is only so much incoherent bumbling a scholar can take in any given twenty-four hour period.

Over the past few days, I have been tirelessly preparing for our glorious expedition Göttingen. Nero, on the other hand, has been sulking in the corner. It is not that I haven't tried to excite him; I told him how wonderful the University is there, how some of the greatest minds in the history of Western thought have passed through its walls. I told him how, if there was any substance to the theory of intellectual osmosis whatsoever, he should be able to spell better than ever before!

To make matters worse, he didn't become so somber until just recently; yesterday, he was a bundle of exuberant, obnoxious energy. Now, I'm not saying I prefer him that way; his excitement left him completely incapable of properly pressing my undergarments for our travels. However, I certainly don't prefer him this way because now he's not pressing anything! My bags aren't going to pack themselves, you know.

I do not know from whence this cloud of sobriety descended; the only thing that has changed since yesterday was my layout of our itinerary. Nero was losing focus on our goal, our objective to compile our report on the Aarne-Thompson Type 500 fairytale; all he could talk about was visiting castles, driving on the Autobahn, and drinking plenty of the local flavour. For the sake of all things scholarly, he thinks he's a native just because he can say kommen Sie heir, Fraulein! Well, I set him straight: only the library, I told him. The University library shall be our home, our sole stimulus, for three glorious weeks! Nothing to distract us; no castles, no Autobahn, no local flavor! I am so committed to our success in this matter that I didn't even bother reserving a hotel; the library has plenty of semi-sleepable surfaces. How wonderful a vacation this shall be! How could anyone not be thrilled with this magnificent opportunity we have?

Well, apparently Nero can. He's been stuffed up in the corner of my apartment playing some bizarre game on his computer for the past hour, occasionally mumbling the phrase "stop poking me" under his breath. I keep trying to cheer him up, but he continually undermines not only my enthusiasm, but the probable success of our academic mission. To use aeuphemismm, he's just a "stick in the mud."

Well, now I'm also feeling a bit gloomy. I tried to cheer myself up by watching The City of Lost Children, a most fantastic French film I had on my Netflix queue, but all I can seem to find around here is The Last Starfighter. A boy who saves the world by playing a video game? It has an uncanny resemblance to the sort of film I might expect from Nero . . .

And now, I notice it's Friday the 13th. How appropriate, I suppose, that everything should go wrong on a Black Friday. It might almost be enough to develop an acute fear of thirteenth Fridays (a condition medically known as paraskavedekatriaphobia, fellow scholars), were it not for the fact that phobias are for the unenlightened. Hmph.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Um....wow.

So the Professor is really ruffling some feathers. I really thought Mr. Rhodes was gonna end him. Mr. Leggett was calm but he started throwing things soon as the professor was gone.

Well at least we are going to Germany for a while. The Prof says we are going to be doing some reasearch on TK-421. I am very excited!! The life of an empiraly solider is something I think we could do a play about. Did he have a family? Did he get off the Death Star before it exploded? There were men behind those masks!!

I am glad the Prof must have been watching the movies I have been secretly adding to his netflix list. I snarked his password when he wasn't looking. You should have seen that thing. All he had on it was forign films with subtitles and national geographic specials. I added TRON, THE LAST STARFIGHTER, and THE BEAST MASTER!! Quality entertainment there!! He did have one odd film, SOUND OF MUSIC with 4 stars next to it. Sometimes he really bothers me.

He hasn't been speaking to me to much because Mr. Leggett came to me and asked where The Prof was getting all his information. I told him he spends most of the day surfing Wikki-pedia. (It really interferes with my gaming) Mr. Rhodes walked by and he had been having a hard day as it was. As soon as he heard that he headed straight for the intern desk. Mr. Leggett had to grab him and said he would have a chat with our resident drama-turd. You should have seen Mr. Leggett lay into him. I think that's why the Prof always calls him a layperson because Mr. Leggett is always laying into him!!! I didn't even have to wikki that!! After 7 years this community college is finally paying off!!

Ok I better go. Come see SNOW WHITE if you can. I will post some pictures!! I am dressing for the Costume contest!!! I hope they let me compete this year!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Salutations Fellow Scholars,

It brings me great pleasure to announce that, with the return of Makeshift Theatre Company to active performing duty, I have finally filed for publication my most recent report on the Aarne-Thompson Classification Type 709! As always, it has been exhaustively researched and expertly compiled by none other than myself, Professor Happ.

This particular report is sensational (well, more sensational than usual, at any rate) simply because its publication coincides with the opening of MTC's production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! Shows are every Saturday in October (7, 14, 21, 28); Sunday, October 15; and Saturday, November 4. All shows are at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline and start promptly at 10:30. More information is available at the MTC website, of course.

I have not seen the production myself, but Walter, the Artistic Director of MTC, insisted that it was, in addition to entertaining, "very true to the original fairytale." Although that was entirely possible, I explained to him that we did not have the scholastic credentials or publications to reinforce that statement and that we could not go swinging around broad generalizations on a topic about which we had absolutely no primary sources. What would happen to our intellectual integrity? Our commitment to objective research? Our repuation for making scholarly education readily available to the general layperson? I demanded that any marketing publication, statement, or recommendation conveying the sentiment that our production was "very true to the original fairytale" be immediately retracted.

In response to this, Walter became indignant, muttered a few monosyllabic words that cannot be posted on a public blog in good taste, and stormed out of the office. Lawrence, the Company Manager of MTC (and an infinitely more accessible communicator, I might add, despite his lack of scholarly qualifications), suggested that perhaps I could validate the claim by researching that very topic and publishing my findings. Now, I must admit, I find it just as endearing as the next scholar that laypeople think they can come up with brilliant ideas as easily as we can, but I explained to Lawrence that such a plan would be remarkably time consuming, as the only place where I could obtain the needed primary sources and compile my paper would be the University of Göttingen, which would keep me out of the office for several weeks. He very delicately explained that this was why he had suggested it in the first place.

There is an important lesson to be learned from this, fellow scholars: although the multitudinous laypeople with whom we share this planet are cerebrally diminished, mentally inferior, and frankly odiferous, we must remember that each of them is a potential scholar and that we can, on occasion, inadvertantly alienate their limited intellect when they are presented with our unfathomably refined acumen, thereby inadvertantly losing our audience; in essence, we cannot make scholars of laypeople in a single afternoon. I felt this was particularly true with Walter and Lawrence, so I took the commission.

Nero and I are scheduled to depart for Göttingen on Sunday, November 5, where we shall stay for three weeks. Our mission is to compile a report on primary sources for the Aarne-Thompson Classification Type 500 for MTC's January production of Rumplestiltskin. In the meantime, I've taken the liberty of writing up my own report on Type 709, and, although I was cruelly forced by circumstances to make mere secondary and tertiary sources suffice, I have done a rather remarkable job of doing so and have, nonetheless, submitted it for publication.

Now Walter and Lawrence can authoritatively say that their little production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is, in fact, "very true to the original fairytale." (Although I might point out that it is not entirely true to the original fairytale, as Snow White [or Schneewittchen, meaning "Snow Witch" in the original German] is only seven years old during the events of the story; the prince who takes her away actually falls in love with her deceased corpse, which only returns to life after it is mistakenly dropped and the fragment of apple in her throat is dislodged; and the evil Queen, who was originally Snow White's biological mother and not stepmother, is forced to pay for her wicked ways by dancing in a pair of fire-heated, red-hot iron shoes until she falls down dead.)

I hope my effort is appreciated.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.

Friday, August 04, 2006

We have been on vacation......

So, with the makeshift season on a break I finally succeeded in getting the Prof. out of the library and out into the real world. I figure if he getis more practice then we won't run into problems like we had in China.

I did learn how to use chop sticks on that outing. Well, almost. I did flip something on to Prof, Happ's plate and he said we were done and asked for the check.

Mr. Rhodes the artistic director and Mr. Leggett the Co. Manager of MTC have already been trying to find ways of getting us out of the office. Desperately so it seems. I am sure another adventure is not far off.

So in the mean time I am copying scripts for the upcoming SNOW WHITE! I am very excited.

Check back soon. Mr. Rhodes just called the Prof. into his office.

Nero
Production Assist/Intern
Makeshift Theatre Co.
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Sunday, July 16, 2006

On the road to the Regent....

So heaven help me we are still in China. CHINA PEOPLE! I kept telling him the story took place in Arabia. But Nooooo... the Professor knows best. Hrumph.

I have to be back in Arlington this Saturday morning for the ALADDIN performance!! The one time they let me be in a play and I have to get dragged to the other side of the world to tote this guys junk. And I mean aaallll his junk! All he has carried is his purse, excuse me "man bag."

The day after that entry he says "we travel west." So he gets about four paces ahead of me when I stop him, turn him around, and explain that west is thataway. I didn't lose his compass. I took it because he was constantly reading it wrong. This guy could get lost in a closet. And I know closets. So we head off. His idea not mine. I wanted to head to Shang-hi and book passage on a ship or something, but no he said something about a suprise and totally refused the idea. I like suprises!!

So, we have been traveling west for the past two days and now we are standing in front of this wall. A really big wall. Now, when i say really big I mean A FRICKEN GI-NORMOUS WALL!!! I took the pic bellow so my Mom would believe me!!

I looked at the professor and told him I bet suprises arn't looking so bad now huh. Again, he just stared at me for a while and said we will go around it. I told him if I missed the warm-ups before the show there would be heck to pay!! I even started to recite my lines for him. All eight of them over and over again. So we went on like this for a while; wall, lines, more wall, lines, even more wall, lines, something flying through the air and hitting me in the head. When I came to, professor Happ said it must have been a bird or something. I have my doubts.

So here we are camped at the foot of this wall of walls. It's a good thing I packed my laptop. Thanks to my GPS satilite hookup I am able to post this and ask the Makeshift home office for help. Plus I hit level 45 necromancer in wow while the professor was sleeping....and after getting that wicker thing off my fingers. They should put warning labels on those things!

They assured me we would be back home in time for the show on Saturday. I mean I never get to be in the shows. Thanks to an audiance member with a flash camera the actor playing the King took a stage dive and sprained his head or something. Good thing I had memorized the whole show!! it would have been embarassing if the princess had taken the fall...but beggers can't be choosers.

I had better go wake the Prof now. I think I see a car coming. See all of you Saturday morning. Unless the professor starts giving directions again.

Nero,
Intern/Production Assistant/Sherpa/45th LV Necromancer
nero@makeshifttheatre.com

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

6/13/2006
Salutations Fellow Scholars,

It has just come to my attention that Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, the latest theatre production courtesy of the forces behind MTC, has opened at The Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts. Showtimes are June 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 10:30 in the morning. I would highly encourage any aspiring scholar to go see it, as it is not only a brilliantly original production, but also the topic of my current assignment as Field Dramaturg for the Makeshift Theatre Company.

I am currently on assignment, fellow scholars, in the city of Lianyungang, a costal port of rising significance in the Jiangsu Province of China. I am writing this installment of "Professor Happ's Happenings" in a small internet café on Ganjiang Road, just across the street from the local antique bookstore. Why am I here? It's a long and upsetting story. But as difficult as it has been, things are going unusually well now that Nero has his fingers stuck in one of those Chinese novelty toys.

The assignment started off well, at any rate. I was charged by MTC to research the origin and history of the story of Aladdin to an extent not yet fathomed by any other dramaturg. Of course, I immediately recognized Aladdin as one of the stories from the Arabic collection Alf Layla wa-Layla (literally translated, A Thousand Nights and One Night), which is itself the story of a Sassanid Queen named Shahrázád; clearly, we had to begin there. Nero and I packed lightly, taking great care to bring only the essentials of equipment and an abundance of intellect, and together we headed off to Baghdad, Iraq.

Which is where our troubles began.

Of course, there was much debate between myself and the Iraqi customs official over the definition of "field dramaturgy," but that was only a minor impediment when compared to the troubles that soon followed. Nero and I were looking for the ruins of Ctesiphon, the captial city of the former Sassanid Empire, some twenty miles southeast of Baghdad along the Tigris River, but we had no way of getting there. Nero suggested, as he is so apt to do, that we "just start hoofin' it," which I believe was an attempt to recommend walking obscured by some inferior dialect. Needless to say, it was a terrible idea, as he was not only ignoring the influence the tremendous desert heat would exert over our bodies, but he was also overestimating his ability to carry my substantial equipment over such a great distance, and I reminded him of this for seven entire miles!

By that time, we were dehydrated and on the verge of death. But does a scholar ever give in? Does a field dramaturgist ever admit defeat? Does Professor Happ ever take "no" for an answer? Well, sometimes, but only when it's the right answer. At any rate, using a length of rope and several pieces of driftwood, I managed to fashion a raft and Nero and I floated the remaining distance down the Tigris.

At least, we would have, had Nero not dropped my supplies into the river, thereby losing my compass. We eventually ended up in the city of Al Kut, over eighty miles from our intended destination, where I was able to enlist the help of some of the locals. Four days after we had arrived in Iraq,Nero and I were finally at Ctesiphon.

Where we realized, of course, that the story of Aladdin is set in China! I bet Nero had never felt so foolish in his life! We packed up, headed back to Al Kut, found a ride back to Baghdad, and caught a flight to Beijing.

Once there, we stopped by the Tsinghua University Library (where I have some colleagues, of course) and picked up some recent geological surveys. As the cave played a major role in the story of Aladdin, I reasoned that this story would have most likely originated in the area of China most densely punctuated with caves, which turned out to be Jiangsu Province. On our way to Nanjing, the regional capital of Jiangsu, Nero and I stopped by an antique bookstore in Lianyungang. We scoured the shelves for some version, any version at all, of Aladdin, but we found none. Then, much to my dismay, Nero offered a suggestion.

"Maybe," he said, "since the story was told by people in the Middle East about made-up people in China, well . . . maybe the people around here really don't know any more about Aladdin than we do."

I told him that was blatantly obvious, and if he had only realized it three days earlier, we would still be in Iraq. I gawk at his incompetence.

At any rate, we crossed the street to the little café so I could place some calls to MTC. As it turns out, Aladdin actually opened over a week ago, Nero tells me he's in the cast (although I cannot imagine why anyone would think him qualified enough to perform anything), MTC wants us to scrap the assignment and return to the US at once, Nero and I have managed to run up a tab of four-hundred yuan at this little café, and, on top of all that, as I have just discovered, Nero and I are flat broke.

But, on the other hand, the door really isn't that far away. Hmm.

As always, scholars, I charge you to act nobly and honorably wherever your expeditions may take you. Desperation may gnaw at your moral fiber, but it is your duty to represent the enlightened community in the best of all possible lights and to always pay your meal tabs in full and tip your waitresses at least fifteen percent.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.

P.S. - If I haven't posted another update by this time next week, call the police.

Has everyone gone to crazy town?!?!?

6/7/2006
Ok, get this, I get to work and they say "Nero, come here we have someone we wnat you to meet..." I think, I am not falling for that one again. Luke Skywalker is not a real person and he is not in the tool closet. I was locked in there for 3 hours tyhe last time till I grabbed a screw gun and took the hinges off the door. Then I got in trouble for not putting the door back on. Fool me thrice shame on you, fool me 10 times ... Dr. Who is not real either ... shame on me.

So, I am introduced to this proff dude, uh, Happ...Proffessor Happ. Heaven forbid you call him "Mr." because he went on for hours about grad school and how he did not spend years attending comunity college to be called "Mr." Like I have never been to college. I may be just and intern and production assistant here at Makeshift, but I am on the 8th year of my undergraduate degree. I even plan to select a major soon, so take that Mr. proffey britches!!!

After the introductions comes the news. I have to work with this guy. Are you kidding me?!?! He says he is a dramaturdist ... or somethingt like that. wait.... dramaturgist. Sorry ... "A Field Dramaturgist!" He went on about the adventures we would have and said something about me being a messengerboy and a page. First off I told him that my name is Nero, and that Page is a girls name so, get that right! "The Proffesor" started talking about adventures in the field and long travels, blah, blah, blah ... I swear that guy does not breath when you get him going. I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't understand half the words he was using.

When he is finally done I tell him that I will have to ask my Mom if that is ok because she gets nervous when I stay overnight anywhere. Now he is just staring at me for what seems like forever. The he asks how old I am. 30. And he just walks away. HE WALKS AWAY! Mom is not going to like this guy, uh-uh, not one bit.

So after the powers that be talk to him in the office for a bit he comes back and says it's ok If I ask my mom. So now it looks like I will be helping this new guy out. I hope they pay me this time, or at least not make me pay to get in the building from now on. He keeps telling me to pack light. I know our next show is SNOW WHITE. So i hope we are going to Disney World. Well, I hope I get to go to Disney world. Either way I am packing my playstation, and my lap top, wow, the trilogy, my psp....

Nero,
Intern
production assistant
sherpa (what does this mean?)
Nero@makeshifttheatre.com

The First Correspondence

6/6/2006
Salutations Fellow Scholars,

It brings me great joy to formally present the very first proper posting here on "Professor Happ's Happenings." As the resident dramaturg and expert on, well, just about everything for Makeshift Theatre, I am excited and honored with this opportunity to continue the noble practice of my trade in the name of scholarly research.

As the occupation of dramaturg is fairly new to the American theatre scene, I have already posted, as you can see, the definition of said work from Wikipedia. Although I am aware that Wikipedia is not always a reliable source and has been discredited on several occations, all said incidents involved biases based on either personal or chronological proximity to the source material; however, as the index I have used is simply a definition of standard vocabulary, it contains neither personal nor chronological proximity to any of the authors resident to Wikipedia and, therefore, can be regarded as a legitimate definition of the term.

The critical difference between a traditional dramaturg, as per the definition provided, and the services I shall be rendering for the Makeshift Theatre Company (henceforth, MTC) is that MTC has decided to take dramaturgy in a new and exciting direction. Instead of limiting oneself to the cramped confines of a research lab, MTC believes, as do I, that the key to the future of theatre is located not among the dusty pages of antiquated volumes crowding the forgotten shelves of libraries, but among very world in which said art form first took shape.

Did literature predate theatre? Did the first orators of our species learn to write before they learned to speak? Did the very first work of theatre spring from the pages of a book? No! The entire notion is preposterous. Theatre is the culmination of oration, and oration is the physical manifestation of imagination; thusly, MTC has enlisted myself, the esteemed Professor Pellinore Happ, to conduct my noble trade in the heartlands of its own origin; I shall single-handedly catalogue and classify the types of theatre as they have evolved around the world, by studying the very minds in which they developed, and it shall be the crowning glory of a new age, an age known heretofore as the Age of Field Dramaturgy!

Yes, well. I suppose I do get a little excited about it sometimes.

At any rate, I shall have in my employ, as I intrepidly travel across the globe, the services of a page and messengerboy known as Nero. You may, from time to time, encounter updates on this site from him in my stead, as I shall be tirelessly devoted to my research. You may find him, as I do, to be incredibly dull, but I shall ask you on his behalf to be patient with him; he really is a bright young lad and a promising scholar, if only he learns to take his field studies with greater sobriety. In any case, you may rest assured that my ingenious work shall, more often than not, grace the pages contained herein.

And with that, fellow scholars, I must sign off. My first assignment awaits!

Brilliantly Sincere,

Professor Happ
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.
profhapp@makeshifttheatre.com

Definition

Dramaturge
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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See also dramaturgy.
In the theater, a dramaturg holds a position that gained its modern-day function through the innovations of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, a playwright and theater practitioner who worked in Germany in the 18th century.
The dramaturg's contribution was to categorize and discuss the various types and kinds of plays, their interconnectedness and their styles. Enhanced by a tradition of generous support for theater as part of German cultural identity, which gave nearly every city a fully staffed theater supported by public funds, the position of dramaturg includes the hiring of actors and the development of a season of plays with a sense of the connectedness between them, the assistance and editing of new plays by resident or guest playwrights, the creation of programs or accompanying educational services and even helping the director with rehearsals, serving as elucidator of history or spokesperson for absent (deceased) playwrights.
In the United Kingdom, dramaturgs function similarly although they are more often, themselves, also playwrights. In the USA, where this position was until recently relatively unknown, it has enjoyed a recent growth particularly in cutting edge theaters with an emphasis on developing new plays within the theater.