“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: ‘Lions and Tigers and Ducks, Oh My’!”
[The curtain rises on Will Scarlet in full Merry Men garb, moving stealthily across the stage before a dark forest backdrop, a mysterious bundle cradled in his arms.]
Will [stage-whispering ]: Previously in my first go at contriving the great-granddaddy of all fairytale mash-ups, a young mother’s theft from a heartless Beast’s garden resulted in her self-imposed exile in the cloudlands atop a giant beanstalk. We left the woman pursued by the Beast’s flying monkey horde. But before they could take her baby, she passed the child along to a benevolent soul known only as The Woodsman. [smiles with a tip of the hat at the audience ] That’s me. I’ve been charged with the responsibility of taking this baby to safety, and I mean to see it done. As it happens, I know just the safe house for this sweet little one. Let’s just hope I can get him there before—
[Even as Will speaks, an enormous black lion lunges from behind a prop tree with a menacing roar. Will startles back with a stifled oath.]
Will/Woodsman: Son of a— What’s a lion doing in these woods?! Wolves I’ve felled and witches I’ve dealt with, even once dodged a family of princes enchanted into a flock of evil ducks, but lions, now? Thank goodness The Woodsman always comes prepared!
[Settling the baby in one arm, Will reaches behind him with the other to unsheathe an oversized hatchet from its place at his back.]
Will/Woodsman: Stand down, vicious beast, or you’ll get it right between the eyes!
[The lion draws back with a whimper, spins in a circle, and by rotation’s end transforms into a dark-gray-skinned young man with a cat’s ears and tail.]
Magical Cat Creature [trembling ]: Please, do me no harm, for I intended you none. I only meant to frighten you off. I have social anxiety (often insultingly mistaken for cowardice, it irks me to say), and therefore much prefer to be alone, when at all possible.
Will/Woodsman [lowering his hatchet ]: Oh. An introvert, eh?
Magical Cat Creature [tail dancing gracefully ]: An Abishan. For this little skit’s purposes, consider me a genie of the woods.
Will/Woodsman: Nice! Do I get a wish or three?
Magical Cat Creature: Not you. The baby. He is a child of great destiny. And when the time is right, I shall grant him his heart’s deepest desire. Now, with haste depart from here! The awful Beast’s minions are never far. Though you won’t have to worry about the flock of evil duck princes anymore. [licks his lips ] They were delicious.
[Thus saying, Abishan spins again and, now in the form of a black tiger, exits the stage with a graceful bound.]
Will/Woodsman [continuing his narration ]: Knowing the Abishan’s words for truth, the handsome hero hurries on toward the safe house. [looks warmly at the baby in his arms ] Don’t worry, little cutie. I swear on my lifeblood you shall live to fulfill your destiny. …whatever that may prove to be.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience member Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘lions’ and ‘ducks.”
“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!”