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.

1 comment:

Pamela Moore said...

That prince was perverse in the original fairy tale!