“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.”
“But first, a quick word from our sponsor-author-girl person,” says Will. “Big congrats to Tirzah Duncan, raffle winner of an e-ARC of “Inspired”! You’ll be getting your prize soon, you lucky thing, you. For now, though, everyone make yourselves comfortable as we now present to you: ‘Vive La Revolution Rouge’!”
[The curtain rises on a single spotlight shining down on Robin Hood. He stands at a podium on far stage right, a badge of red, white, and blue pinned to his jacket’s lapel.]
Robin [in an epic announcer voice ]: Coming soon to a theatre so off Broadway, it’s not even on the same plane of reality, Scarlet Productions presents “Les Miserables”. A reputedly uplifting tale of misery, misery, and more misery, the show stars Will Scarlet as Jean Valjean, a man who served a ridiculous amount of hard time for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child (are you kidding me, 19th-centurry French justice system???), broke parole, and went on to become the sort of beloved mayor everyone shouts for when carriages collapse on people in the street.
[A little further along the stage, a light goes up on Will Scarlet, dressed in a gentleman’s frock coat (red, of course), gazing out into the audience with a facial expression suggesting internal conflict and a possible identify crisis.]
Will/Valjean [singing ]: Who am I?
Robin: Bread thief, parole-breaker, beloved mayor. We’ve been over it.
Will/Valjean: Oh. Right. Guess I’d best be off to adopt the little daughter of that recently deceased lady of the night!
[The light on Will goes dark, and Robin continues.]
Robin: Co-starring Allyn-a-Dale as Javert, the police inspector who, more interested in upholding the letter of the law than granting mercy to men trying to do some bloody good in a messed-up Europe, doggedly hunts Valjean like a Nottingham Sheriff hounds a Merry Man.
[A stage left spotlight shines softly on Allyn-a-Dale, standing in a heavily-starched uniform of ink-dark blue, his eyes trained above on constellations formed of sparkling Christmas ornaments.]
Allyn/Javert [with chilling fervency ]: Stars and their Maker, stand and witness.
Forever I have made my pledge:
I’ll track down two-four-six-oh-one
And capture him, or meet my death.
Robin: …Wow. Move over, Herbert Kretzmer. [clears throat and continues as Allyn’s spotlight darkens ] Also featuring Marion Hood as tragic heroine Eponine, and Gant-o’-the-Lute – breakout favorite of upcoming Wilderhark Tale “The Seventh Spell” – as Enjorlas, ringleader of a revolution doomed to truly impressive failure.
[A center stage spotlight comes up on a pile of furniture, atop which stands Gant-o’-the-Lute, waving a massive French flag through a fog of smoke from artificial gunfire.]
Lute/Enjorlas [singing joyously ]: Do you hear the people sing?
Songs of adventure in the slums!
It is the music of— [breaks off when he notices Marion crawling along in the guise of a street urchin boy at the barricade’s base ] Eponine, what do you think you’re doing? Move along, silly thing – you’ll die!
Marion/Eponine: It’s “Les Miserables”, Enjorlas. Everyone dies.
Lute/Enjorlas [lightly ]: Well, hello, spoilers.
[A pair of shots ring out, and Lute and Marion fall over, dead. Spotlight goes black.]
Robin: It’s a show not to be missed. …Unless you’re a “real life” person with no access to the imaginary venue, in which case you are most unfortunately out of luck. But hey, at least you got the mock preview. “Les Miserables”: Eat, pray, love… or whatever the movie’s tagline was. [chucks up the peace sign with a charming smile, and the light blacks out ]
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Laure Estep and Ann Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘creative uses for Christmas ornaments’ and ‘“Forever I have made my pledge”’.”
“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!”