“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: ‘Spinning Straw to Scarlet-Gold’!”
[The curtain rises on a spotlit Will Scarlet reclining on a couch, a colorful little paperback in hand. From behind the couch, Allyn-a-Dale pops up and leans over to read over Will’s shoulder.]
Allyn: “The Seventh Spell”, is it? Did our author put you up to that?
Will: Believe it not, Allyn, I am just barely enough of an intellectual that I do sometimes enjoy reading for my own pleasure. …Or when I’m scrambling for inspiration for an Interactive Theatre skit. How would you feel about putting together a fairytale mash-up?
Allyn: Which tales do you mean to combine?
Will [shooting upright ]: All of them!
Will: Well, a lot of them, anyway. How hard can it be? [waves “The Seventh Spell” ] Danielle managed it, didn’t she? And she’s not half as clever as we are! Here, picture this: It all starts with a woman who lives next door to a dangerous neighbor…
[Further across the stage, a light goes up on Marion crouched in a set decked out with topsoil, rows of little plants climbing up stakes, and other such touches evocative of a vegetable garden. Her attention on stuffing produce into the oversized pockets of her cardigan sweater, she doesn’t appear to notice Little John, entering from the wings in an alarming getup of fur and horns, until his shadow falls across her.]
Little John/Beast [growling ]: Who dares steal from my garden?
[Marion jumps up with a startled cry, clutching what gives the appearance of a several-months’-pregnant belly.]
Marion/Woman: Mercy, fearsome beast! I’ve just had this insane craving for zucchini for weeks, and—
Allyn: Wait. Zucchini?
Will: Yup. ‘Cause, it being the Beast’s garden, you’d think it would be a rose, or her being an expectant mother, you’d think it would be some Rapunzel-ish salad greens. But nope, it’s zucchini. Plot twist!
Allyn: That’s not much of a plot twist.
Will: Well, you can’t say you saw it coming! So anyway, the woman and Beast come to an agreement, neither party suspecting that the other’s got a trick up their sleeve.
Little John/Beast [aside to the audience ]: That foolish woman thinks she’s got a hope of winning her child back from me. Little does she know, my game’s conditions are impossible. No mortal creature has ever guessed my name!
Marion/Woman [aside to the audience ]: If that beast thinks I’m sticking around to play his stupid game, he’s got another think coming. Zucchini’s not the only little treasure I’ve stolen from his garden. [raises a small, round object to shine in the light ] With this magic bean, my child and I shall escape to the cloudlands, beyond his reach forever!
[The light over the garden goes dark.]
Allyn [eyebrows raised in interest ]: All right, now this is beginning to sound interesting. What happens next?
Will: Well, the woman makes her escape up the beanstalk, and in due time, the child is born. Unfortunately, her sanctuary isn’t as safe as supposed.
[The darkened light returns, the garden scene replaced with a white fluffy rug and a backdrop of endless sky blue. The flurry of flapping wings and inhuman screeches fill the sound system.]
Marion/Woman [clutching the infant-shaped bundle swaddled in her sweater ]: Oh, no! The beast has found us out, and sent his gang of flying monkey hit men to claim my baby! I must smuggle my dear one out of the country. But how?!
[The light and sound of the cloudlands set dims.]
Will: Hmm, how indeed? I’m torn. Should she entrust her baby to the keeping of the fairies of Neverland, or hide him in a basket and hope Red Riding Hood doesn’t get stopped by the wolves of the border patrol?
Allyn: It sounds like you need more time to get your plot sorted out, Will.
Will: Meh. Maybe. I’m onto something though, right? Look out, Wilderhark Tales?
Allyn [smiling ]: You know I’ll never vote against Wilderhark while Father’s there. But stay inspired, Will. There may yet be some gold to be spun from your grasped-at straws.
“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!”