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....

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.

A Spooktacular Halloween!!


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!!!

A.K.A. Charlie Brown/office assistant/hater of salt

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.

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!!

cameraman extraordinar/Intern/Egg-nog lover
Makeshift Theatre Co.

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!!

Production Asst./Jack of all trades/Costume contest winner (fingers crossed)
Makeshift Theatre Co.

Friday, October 13, 2006


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


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.