For a change of pace, I am presenting, here, “The Shaming of the True,” something I have given as a final examination in a graduate instrumentation systems course (ENBE 601). As you can see, near the end of the “drama,” students are asked to assume the role of Engineirio and solve Baptismal’s vermin problem in their own way (“ad libitum”).
The Shaming of the True
- A LORD
- B LORD Persons in the Induction
- C LORD
- BAPTISMAL, a rich gentleman of Paddock
- PINOCCHIO, a wooden-headed gentlemen of Pizza
- ENGINEIRIO, a stalwart technologio, played by the ENBE 601 student
- KATHERINA, feeder of the shrews
- MARK ANTONIO, character from another play who changes his first name to “San” and adopts a surname moniker of TEX
- SAGGITARIO, the hunter
- SERVANTS, quite a few
SCENE: Paddock, a large country estate in central Italy.
Inside an alehouse
A LORD, B LORD, AND C LORD sit before the hearth.
A LORD. ‘Tis a wager the rogues may bet; Before he tire And gently to his bed doth go. That within a week or so, Bethink of a means to salve old Sire’s woe.
B LORD. And a more weighty burden cannot be so, For the wealthy inhabitant of that great estate Has seen fit to be the unwitting host to guests of great number, Although the shrews acknowledge not his hospitality.
C LORD. What can be done to tame his troubles? Solv’d in a blink as time goes. Yet, my Lord, as the ale is clear’d before the glass is fill’d, I’ll take your wager that the scholar, looking on with consternation, Has the means to employ a correct response, To this final examination.
A LORD. Should the Heavens be aligned so regular that n-ary an error wilt be made? Nay, your wager is on. My shekels support the pessimist foretelling inappropriate rejoinment.
Paddock. The Villa.
Enter BAPTISMAL and PINOCCHIO walking together.
BAPTISMAL. Pinocchio, since for the great desire I had To see fair Paddock, from fruitful Lombardy, The pleasant garden of great Italy, And, by my father’s love and leave, Have stay’d these years within these villa walls, Remov’d from the merchants of Venice in another play. Yet my offspring Katherina has habits Undesirable for my quiet years.
PINOCCHIO. Say it again, Sam
BAPTISMAL. Nay. Who can remember? But Katherina Consumes crackers in her bed. Her crumbs she drops beneath the sheets In slobbery disarray, Leaving them for servant hands to clean, With no thot to the attraction she poses for villa vermin.
PINOCCHIO. Can you not arrest her untidy habits, my friend?
BAPTISMAL. Wait. You have not heard all. When by her hand she has made one bed discomfortable, She moves to another, and yet another, Until all one hundred one rooms of the villa Have succumbed. Villa vermin are everywhere!
PINOCCHIO. Uncouth habits indeed. She is so headstrong, That even young Petruchio cannot crack her. My sympathy for your plight.
Paddock. The Villa.
BAPTISMAL sits in his chair.
SAGGITARIO knocks on the door.
BAPTISMAL. Who is there?
SAGGITARIO. (from outside the door). Comand.
BAPTISMAL. Comand, who?
SAGGITARIO. Comand open the door.
BAPTISMAL. I am glad to see you, Saggitario. Here to rid the villa of vermin. Y e’ll have no trouble finding your prey. They are omnipresent I fear.
SAGGITARIO. Cas’d the villa, I did. ‘Twill be a difficult hunt. For the vermin scute hither and yon, Moving from pile to pile and room to room Full of cracker crumbs and comfy sheets. Before I ply my trade, And rid this villa of vermin, We must know if they are German. I know what I’ll do; I’ll call my buddy Engineirio.
Paddock. One room in the villa.
SAGGITARIO and ENGINEIRIO are talking.
SAGGITARIO. And this I propose to you, To monitor these villa vermin, Sense the presence of each tiny mouse A nd where it is within the house. Keep track of movement this way and that As they try to avoid the cat.
ENGINEIRIO. How do you wish me to begin? It seems like a job t’me.
SAGGITARIO. Sense mouse movement as cheaply as you can, In all one hundred and one rooms. Monitor in one location in the far wing, With special alarms for animal activity in the pantry or library. I must know the whereabouts of the scum, Before I can rid them from this place.
ENGINEIRIO. How large are they? Can they scute thru the walls? To see or not to see? Shall I nuc’em where they stand?
SAGGITARIO. All kinds are here and all sizes too. They are in the walls and on the floor. ‘Tis not necessary to see’em. Nay, no nuc, leave the fun for me.
ENGINEIRIO and SAGGITARIO.
[This dialog is ad libitum in the classroom setting.]
ENGINEIRIO. I think I can. I think I can.
SAGGITARIO. Sir, we will be victorious, in this villa.