“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to a very special 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. Now…” Allyn turns to Will, eyes narrowed. “Why is today’s skit ‘a very special ’ one?”
“Because,” says Will, “today marks the 1-year anniversary of Danielle’s Wilderhark Tales debut, ‘The Swan Prince’!”
Allyn glances at the calendar. “Ah, so it is! Mercy, how recent and long ago that launch date seems. How are we marking the occasion?”
“I was thinking…” Will spreads his hands before him. “‘Swan Prince: The Musical’!”
Allyn’s expression slackens. “Wait, what?”
***Disclaimer: The following song number is the product of Will Scarlet and is in no way affiliated with Allyn-a-Dale, Gant-o’-the-Lute, or any credentialed minstrel to speak of. All character entities featured are intellectual property of Danielle E. Shipley, author of “The Swan Prince (Book One of the Wilderhark Tales)”, and are performing of their own volition.***
[The curtain rises, along with a lively overture from the orchestra, on a backdrop depicting the foliage of Wilderhark Forest. Villem Deere stands stage left, Sula stage right, a pair of prop trees between and a bit behind them. ]
Villem: My knowledge base is a showcase of information diversity.
Aced every last final at my doctor university.
Yet there’s one thing I do not, and simply must, know:
What’s with that Sula girl, yo?
[Sula wrinkles her nose, because for no reason beyond a Will Scarlet script would Villem ever say “yo”, but regardless, she sings on her cue, her gaze following Sigmund as he enters the stage and crosses to disappear behind a tree.]
Sula: Neither spring-loaded steel nor that Doctor Deere can break me.
I’ll keep the whole world at arm’s length for everybody’s safety.
But that Sigmund boy’s drawn me since my first entranced stare.
To ignore him’s more than I can bear.
[Now she rolls her eyes, because bear puns? Really? Meantime, the music swells fuller, intensifying in tone, while a swan’s shadow glides over the backdrop.]
Both: By moonlight.
Villem: What answers…
Sula: What freedom…
Both: Will come with the sunrise?
Obsession, distraction, and grudging attraction in Wilderhark.
When will what’s in the dark come to light?
[The lights on Villem and Sula darken, while a new spotlight shines center stage between the trees, rippling silver like moonlight on water. From his huddled position in the light’s center, Sigmund draws gracefully up to his feet, spreading vast sleeves designed to look like gray-feathered wings. The music slows and quiets to little more than a plaintive oboe.]
Sigmund: Once upon a time, my life looked sublime.
A prince among worse, ‘til a curse brought me low.
Bound now to a lake and this Sula girl’s fate,
Will my tale end in rapture or woe?
[Music builds again for the return of the chorus. Villem, Sula, and Sigmund sing in three-part harmony, as the stage’s lighting shifts moment by moment from night-dim to a glow like the dawn.]
All: Wondering, wandering, by moonlight.
What changes, what choices, will come with the sunrise?
A search for what’s hiding and lost deep inside of great Wilderhark.
When will what’s wrong be made right?
When what’s in the dark comes to liiight!
[Triumphant orchestral finish.]
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Kim Matura,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘university finals’ and ‘sublime’. Thanks also to the main cast from ‘The Swan Prince’ for being such good sports about this. I’d no idea you all had such tuneful voices!”
“And the song?” Will prompts.
“…Could have been worse,” Allyn says grudgingly. “Far better, but also worse.”
“Thank you very much. If you enjoyed yourselves, dear audience,” 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! And if you haven’t yet, consider celebrating the original Wilderhark Tale’s first full year out in the world by purchasing a copy today – through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace…whatever floats your boat – or recommending it to a friend. Until next week: Will and Allyn out!”