“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: ‘Peter and the Puffwolf’!”
[The curtain rises on Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow (bearing a shining sword), Will Scarlet as Peter “The Woodsman” Pan, Marion Hood as Wendy Darling-Pan, and Robin Hood as Simian the winged monkey, all running like mad on a treadmill embedded on the floor, stage right. The dim lighting flickers on the stony backdrop behind them, aiding in the illusion of the players’ mad dash through a subterranean space.]
Will/Woodsman [to the audience ]: Previously in our serial fairytale skit, we discovered a singing sword in an underground treasure vault.
[The sword in Allyn’s hand waves along to the voiceover of Gant-o’-the-Lute.]
Lute/Songsteel: That’s me! Songsteel, the one and only one with the power to defeat the Antichristmas Beast!
Marion/Wendy: …Or so it’s been said. We’d only just found the sword when the vault’s doors where blown down by the monster the Beast sent against us: The dreaded Puffwolf.
[A gusty howl resounds.]
Robin/Simian: So this is us, running for our lives.
Allyn/Jack: I’ve lived long enough among dwarves to know their construction tricks. Every vault, mine, and bunker they build is secretly connected to all the others. There’s a way out, if only we can stay ahead of the Puffwolf. [pauses for another howl, louder and closer than before ] …Which is sounding less likely by the moment.
Will/Woodsman [pointing ahead, where a construction scaffold has just rolled in from offstage ]: Quick, up there!
[Surging off of the treadmill, the players scramble up the scaffolding and from there to a long metal beam hanging from the ceiling – and just in time, for a noisy blast, ostensibly from the Puffwolf’s powerful lungs, blows the scaffolding down as if it were no sturdier than a house of cards. A mere moment later, adorned in a luxurious fur suit and with much baring of prosthetic fangs and claws, the Puffwolf himself stalks onto the stage, the role graciously filled by Edgwyn Wyle.]
Edgwyn/Puffwolf [in a deep, chilling voice you’d never expect from “The Stone Kingdom”s sweet tailor ]: Little prey, little prey, won’t you come down?
Lute/Songsteel [to a tune recognizable from “Defying Gravity” ]: No one in this land of ours, no Puffwolf that there is or was, is ever going to bring us do-o-own!
Edgwyn/Puffwolf: Then I’ll— well. [huffs ] I’ll just pace around in circles until you get too tired to keep your balance and topple down, at which point [licks lips ] I will swallow you whole. [proceeds pacing ]
Will/Woodsman: Mm, no thanks, to that. Bring it in, gang. [beckons at the others, who lean in toward his stage whisper ] Here’s the plan. I’ve got a coil of rope, see? I’ll make a noose, lower it down, catch the Puffwolf by the tail, and incapacitate him by hauling him upside down.
Marion/Wendy: Excellent. All we need is a way to keep the Puffwolf distracted while you go for his tail. Simian, go fly around the Puffwolf’s head. Get close enough that he’ll snap at you, but not so close that you’ll actually be caught.
Robin/Simian: Are you joking?! No way am I going anywhere near that creature!
Allyn/Jack: Oh, come on, don’t be worthless – you’re the only one with wings!
Will/Woodsman: But not the only one who can get the job done. Leave the distraction to me!
[Will hands his coil of rope to Marion, stands on the beam and, without further ado, throws himself into the air.]
Allyn/Jack [aghast ]: WOODSMAN, NO— [breaks off, staring wide-eyed, as a discreet harness allows Will to swoop around high over the stage ] You can fly??
Marion/Wendy [nodding confirmation ]: He can fly.
Will/Woodsman [whooping for joy ]: I can flyyy! Just like riding a bike; once Neverland’s fairies show you the knack, you never forget. Hey, Puffwolf! Betcha can’t catch me!
[As Will and Edgwyn put on a show of diving and lunging while the orchestra’s flutes and French horns go crazy with Prokofiev themes, the players on the beam slowly, slo-o-owly lower the rope’s noose toward the Puffwolf’s tail. Once the target’s caught, and with a cry of “Haul away!”, they all three jump off the back of the beam, using the captured Edgwyn rising upward as a counterweight to slow their descent. The Puffwolf howls in protest, but in vain.]
Will/Woodsman [landing by the others on the ground ]: Well-played, everyone! Now, what to do with the Puffwolf?
Marion/Wendy: Sell him to the zoo?
Will/Woodsman: No good. The forest’s Guild of Talking Animals declared zoos inhumane a decade ago. Killing’s still allowed, though. Songsteel, why don’t you show us what you can do?
Lute/Songsteel: I have been. I don’t stab, slash, and bloody things up; I sing!
Will/Woodsman [dismayed ]: Is that all?! How is that useful against a monster like the Puffwolf, to say nothing of a beast like the Antichristmas?
Lute/Songsteel: Listen and learn. I say, Puffwolf?
Edgwyn/Puffwolf [growling ]: Yes?
Lute/Songsteel: Congratulations! You’re the winner of the fictional version of the “Song Caster” Launch Week Giveaway!
Edgwyn/Puffwolf: Really? I’d known there was a raffle happening on the author’s blog, but this is the first I’ve heard of a fictional version. What have I won?
Lute/Songsteel: Why, a private concert with none other than Gant-o’-the-Lute and his magic flute! One night only, then he’s out of town and off on adventure again.
Edgwyn/Puffwolf [gasps ]: Gant-o’-the-Lute?! What luck! That minstrel is amazing!
Lute/Songsteel [audibly smug ]: Isn’t he just? But there’s one caveat, Puffwolf: Creatures who do the dark bidding of the Beast are ineligible to collect the prize. So if you swallow his enemies whole, no minstrelsong for you.
Edgwyn/Puffwolf: No, please! I won’t, I promise! Just let me hear Gant-o’-the-Lute’s flute concert! His music’s divine!
Lute/Songsteel: Very well, then. Let the Puffwolf free, people; he has a concert to attend.
[Once released, Edgwyn scampers eagerly offstage without another bit of fuss, while the remaining players stand in open-mouthed shock.]
Lute/Songsteel: And that is but one example of the power of music. Still think I’m unqualified to vanquish your enemy?
Allyn/Jack: Quite the contrary, Songsteel. [begins to smile ] I think I may have an idea how best to wield you.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Chelsea de la Cruz and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the ‘Song Caster’-centric inspiration ‘the Puffwolf wins a private concert with Gant-o’-the-Lute in a raffle’ and ‘a certain troublesome flute’. Have an extra raffle point each as a reward!”
“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! And as a bonus, everyone who leaves a comment with a prompt will earn a point in that giveaway we’ve mentioned, same as Chelsea and Miranda.”
“Speaking of the giveaway,” says Allyn, “hearty congratulations to the winners of Days 3 and 4,
Nicholas Boardman and Chelsea de la Cruz!
You’ve each won a pair of postcards featuring Gant-o’-the-Lute art – the one by Tirzah Duncan, the other by Tirzah and Danielle.”
“Congrats, guys!” Will cheers. “I think that’s all of our scheduled announcements. So, ‘til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”