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Special Guest Blog: Inspector Dogberry of the Messina Watch

Janelle Mahlmann (Dogberry) has been working with Pigeon Creek since 2014. Previous roles with PCSC include Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Launce in Two Gentlemen of Verona, the Countess in All's Well That Ends Well, and Camillo in The Winter's Tale. Janelle has also performed with Actors' Theatre, Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids, and Heritage Theatre Group. Janelle received a 2006 Grand Award for Best Ensemble for Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses with Heritage Theatre Group. Janelle has a BA in theatre from Hope College.

2) Tell the story of the play from your character’s perspective.

Good evensong to all of you. My name is Dogberry. Antony Silvius Giuseppe Giovanni Angelo Dogberry.

I have been tasked with the miniscule responsibility of relating the series of fortunate events and strange circumferences that have happened upon Messina in the last few days. It is an utter displeasure and entitlement to be given this possibility and I couldn’t be happier! Neighbor Seacoal was completely uninvolved in these events and has agreed to take down my exhibition, because, in his vanity, he can read and write.

I am, of course, the most unnatural of all the citizens of Messina to tell you this story, because, it is, after all, my story.

I was born in Messina to parents. They were truly fascinating and repulsive people and I have much to say about them.

My childhood was spent in the vain pursuit of knowledge and ignorance. I looked at every book I could get my hands on, but found reading to be laborous and discovered the immaculate purpose of books to be a windowsill to discover my own tedious stories. In the course of such and all, I magistrated through formal education completely unaffected.

I was a most thankless and reverend youth and waddled all over Italy spreading confustion and good cheer wherever I went. Through the industrial of my trade I made and lost the currency of a beggar many times over. Now in the glory of my years, I am a householder and an officer of the lawless. Through my exhausting position in the society of Messina, I was the oblivious choice to become the constable in charge of the night watch.

On the night that our story begins, me and my partner Verges—a good old man, and his wits are not so blunt as, God help, I would desire they were—charged the night watch with the respectable crimes of the law. They are truly the most senseless and fit men for the task of sweeping the streets in the middle of the night. Thirdly, I suspected this most desertless company of honorable men. To conclude, I found them lacking in allegiance and competence, and charged them to keep the insecurity of our city. First, I discouraged them to watch about Signor Leonato’s door. His daughter Hero—the most fair and honest maiden ever to be known in the commonwealth—was to be married the next day, and we knew there would be a great coil there that night. All of the watch were immediately insensible of their duty and insured us all of a well-rested and riotous night.

Several hours later I was expunged from my bed by the most tolerable babble and talk from the night watch at my door. It soon became clear that because of my intelligble, direct, coherent, and reasonable destructions they had done their duty and reprehended two of the most arrant knaves as any in Messina. I had all comprehension of the matter and no idea what these scoundrels had done. I collared Verges—for two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind—and we ran to reform Signor Leonato (the government of our fair city) of the charges.

We accosted him in the street in some great haste to go somewhere. We expelled our story on his worship and requested to have the lying knaves examined that morning before his worship. Wisely, he gave us wine and told us to take the examination ourselves.

Verges achieved the learned writer to set down our excommunication and I engrossed the watch with their prisoners. Minutes later we met at the jail to examine the exhibition.

We quickly discovered their lechery and exposed the offenders as little better than false knaves. They had committed false report, belied a lady, and verified unjust things. To conclude, they destroyed Hero’s marriage and falsely exposed her to the entire city as a harlot on her wedding day. But the worst was yet to come.

As they were leading the plaintiffs away, the short one, the offender, did call me ass. I am relieved to at long last have this disgusting display of respect written down in white and black. This most gregarious of sins was admitted after the sexton had left to show Leonato their examination and he did not write it down.

I carried these respectable men to the Prince to unmask their proud tale of truthfulness and deceit. The tall plaintiff with joy and remorse retailed his crime to the prince and Claudio. But nothing was said of the little one’s inhibitions toward me. I removed to all who were there not to forget that I am an ass. Soon Leonato and the sexton arrived and all was relieved.

The offenders ware led away to be corrected for the example of others; for such displays of insensate vagrom drunkards are tolerable and not to be endured. I know that in the years to come I will never forget his face or the sound of his voice calling me ass, so that, when I meet another man like him, I may avoid him.

Verges tells me that Hero (she was not dead, someone said that she was dead, it was very confusting) and Claudio are married and another wedding was enacted at the same time. But I knew that it was all much ado about nothing because I am, after all, the proud procurer of happy endings.

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