“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”
“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”
“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”
“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Painting the Chi-Town Scarlet’!”
[The curtain rises on a young woman sitting hunched on a bed, bundled in layers of hoodies, her eyes and fingers dancing over a laptop computer.]
Voice [calling from offstage ]: Hey, Danielle. We’re thinking of going into the city, later. Wanna come?
Danielle: Thanks, but heck no.
[In a blink, Will Scarlet pops up from behind the bed, his face a mask of shock and horror.]
Will: No?! What do you mean, no?! Of course you want to go!
Danielle: You mean you want to go.
Will: You bet your folders of digital documents, I do!
Danielle [shuddering ]: Don’t even joke about gambling with those. My soul is on this hard drive, Scarlet. …and backed up regularly elsewhere, lest fate be tempted.
Will [bounding onto the bed beside her ]: Come on, girl. This is Chicago we’re talking about! We could take the train down. Wander around Millennium Park. Talk selfies in front of that big shiny bean thing. Ride up to the top of the Willis Tower…
Danielle: Sears Tower.
Will: They changed that.
Danielle: Not in the hearts of true Chicagoans, they haven’t.
Will [snorting ]: Call yourself a true Chicagoan in one breath, and refuse to actually frequent the place in the other.
Danielle: It’s cold out there! Don’t you know we’re living through a polar vortex?
Will: So wear a hat. Allyn! Talk some sense into this girl, will you?
[Allyn-a-Dale appears from behind the bed also, walking around to perch on the headboard.]
Allyn: You know she doesn’t like urban areas, Will. All those buildings looming over her on every side; she finds it claustrophobic.
Will [whining ]: But I want to go to the city.
Danielle: So go. You know you don’t actually need me for that.
Will [resting his head on her knee and giving her puppy-dog eyes ]: But I want to share it with you.
Danielle [in a squeaky, “that’s so adorable” voice, while hugging his head ]: Aw-w-w!
Allyn [dryly ]: You needn’t feel too touched. He just wants the double-richness of experiencing a thing twice, through his own senses and yours. Same principle as when he makes you eat the cookies that he’s got a taste for.
Danielle [face fallen into a semi-grumpy expression ]: Oh. Pah. Greedy face. [shoves Will off the bed and flaps a hand toward the door ] Go do what you want, and leave me out of it. I’ve got a publishing writer’s life to live, and this prep work for the release of “Inspired” won’t get done any faster with me pulling an Annabelle by goofing off with the guys in my head.
Will: Well, don’t say we didn’t want you along. Come on, Allyn! Let’s go hop a train – like hobos! Ooh, I’ve got costuming for that!
[Will dashes offstage, Allyn following with a twiddle-fingered wave for Danielle.]
Allyn: Happy hermit life, Author.
[Danielle gives an absent thumbs-up, then returns her attention to whatever it is she does all day.]
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”