“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: ‘Operation: Element of Surprise’!”
[The curtain rises on a pitch black stage with nothing to be seen, and nothing to be heard but a pair of footsteps and a hushed, beautiful voice.]
Allyn/Jack Snow [stage-whispering ]: Previously in our serial fairytale mash-up, my Woodsman protector and I were on our way to—
[There’s a noisy, stumbling thud and some creative curses.]
Will/Woodsman [also stage-whispering ]: Jack! Are you all right?
Allyn/Jack: Yes, fine. Just tripped face-first into a stony wall, is all. Quite the bright idea, Woodsman, coming down here with no torches or lanterns. And when I say “bright”, I mean the other thing.
Will/Woodsman: You’re the one who nixed Plan A. I was all for storming the Beast’s castle aboveground, but “no,” you said, “too dangerous,” you said. So Plan B is this secret underground passageway. Operation: Element of surprise!
Allyn/Jack: A surprise all on us, I fear, if we can’t see where we’re going. We don’t even know where in the castle this tunnel leads!
Will/Woodsman [footsteps coming to a halt ]: Well, if you’ve got a Plan C, I’m all ears. Otherwise, if you’re done being a Nancy Negative, I’ve got a great destiny I’m trying to fulfill. Yours.
Allyn/Jack: Yes, I know. And it’s not that I’m ungrateful. I just dislike walking into destiny blind.
[A thump and stereo “oof!”]
Will/Woodsman [in mild pain ]: That wasn’t destiny. That was me.
Allyn/Jack: Sorry. That’s quite enough of this. I’m bringing in some light.
[Out of the darkness swells the music of a small string-and-wind ensemble and Allyn’s matchless voice lifted in song.]
Allyn/Jack: Firefly, firefly, hither fly to me.
Bring your light, softly bright, that by it might I see.
[A light – small for a lantern, darn big for an insect, and discreetly borne by a black-clad Marion – floats in from offstage to hover between Will and Allyn, illuminating their faces.]
Marion/Firefly: You summoned?
Will/Woodsman: Good Lord, Jack! How did you manage that bit of conjuration?
Allyn/Jack: Most woodland creatures will come when I call. They seem to enjoy my singing.
Will/Woodsman: I meant the orchestra.
Allyn/Jack: Oh. Chalk that up to the magic of theatre. Firefly, would you be so good as to fly ahead to the end of the tunnel and tell us what you find?
Marion/Firefly: Happy to! Back in a jiffy! [light winks off and on in the space of two seconds ] Back!
Will/Woodsman: Eat your heart out, New York minute. What’d you see, secret agent twinkle bug?
Marion/Firefly: The passage leads to a hidden door to the great Beast’s dining room. The room appears currently empty, apart from the table laden with wild game from the forest, fresh produce from his precious garden, and chocolate-covered bacon.
Will/Woodsman: You had me at “dining room”. C’mon, Jack, let’s do lunch!
Allyn/Jack: You mean take down the Beast.
Will/Woodsman: But… chocolate-covered bacon!
Allyn/Jack: Focus, Woodsman. And Firefly, thank you so much for your assistance. Guide us to the hidden door?
Marion/Firefly: On one condition.
Allyn/Jack: What would you ask?
Marion/Firefly: When you achieve your destiny as the chosen Santa Claus, think you could hook me up with an electric train set?
Allyn/Jack [smiling in the firefly light ]: Electricity has yet to come to the forest, but I’ll see what I can arrange. Now: Onward, all!
“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!”