OK, end of background. Where the impossible patron requests come into the story is when people submit a name that is impossible to modify in the form requested. The patron loves the Russian name "Olga" but wants to have it changed to the 10th century Irish form, as if all names have a counterpart in all other languages in all time periods. Or wants "Willow of the Fairy Hills" because it's her favorite name from a certain bodice-ripper fantasy romance, but has no documentation whatsoever to prove that it is a name actually used by humans in period. And again, she wants it made authentic for medieval Irish. We have concluded that what the patrons really want is for us to wave our Magic Herald Wands and change history, so that Olga and Willow really ARE period Irish names.
LOL, I work ren faires as part of an educational Royal Court (we are paid, and most have theater backgrounds). When I was figuring out my backstory, I searched through the actual records of family names for the nobility of that era, and picked out the one that I liked for my family name (actually belonged to my favorite historical author at the time), parents names, children's' names, etc.
Back on topic:
As part of our work in the group, we sometimes get requests from other acts, players or vendors to participate in various "play" scenes. As our days are usually heavily scheduled, we have to narrow down what we do participate in, without offending anyone (because we do like these people, and see them throughout the season, year after year). The rules are:
1. The "scene" must have a beginning, middle, and end. No trailing off, or leaving something open ended (yadda yadda, and we're not sure what will happen after that, but we'll figure it out). It's not funny if it just kind of peters out, and it confuses the paying customers.
2. No more than 5-8 minutes long, because it has to be able to hold the attention of the patrons. ("It'll only be about half an hour, no more!" Um, that's show length, and it falls during our lunch break.)
3. It has to make sense, and be appropriate. No kidnapping the under-age-princess type thing (we have no more princesses, partly because of this).
4. It cannot interfere with our normal shows/duties. Don't interrupt a show unless someone is missing, hurt, or dead. Interrupting MY show with your stalker-behaviour will get security called, not a date with me.
5. If you want us to be part of an actual show, you had better have a script, or an idea of how you want people to react, and what you want us to do, and it's best to talk to us before the gates open (but not while we're getting dressed, unless you are a scotsman, and in a great kilt. I will talk to you ANYTIME, and the answer is YES!).
All of us have good improv skills, but there are times when you just don't want to get into something without some idea of what you are supposed to do, how long it will take, and how it ends.
Our standard e-hell-friendly phrase: "I'm sorry, it won't be possible today. Maybe you can work on a plan this evening/week, and email us, and we'll let you know if we can work it in." (it usually ends there, as they never get back to us).
EHell has definitely helped me keep my cool, and to have a polite backbone at faire.