“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: ‘The Anti-Antichristmas’!”
[The curtain rises on a backdrop painted with the menacing front of gates of the Antichristmas Beast’s castle. In the fringes of the prop-tree forest stage right stand Will Scarlet as Peter “The Woodsman” Pan and Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow, bearing Songsteel, the sword voiced by Gant-o’-the-Lute.]
Will/Woodsman: Sixteen acts of assorted fairytale shenanigans, and it all comes down to this. Are you prepared, Jack Snow, to face the Antichrismtas Beast and seize your destiny as the chosen Santa Claus?
Allyn/Jack [solemnly ]: I am. But there is yet the possibility that I shall fall to the Beast’s power. Will you not please wait in safety with Mother and Simian?
Will/Woodsman [shaking his head ]: No indeed, dear boy. I am sworn to stand by your side to whatever end. If by my life or death I can protect you, I will. [draws blade from scabbard ] You have my sword. [slings recurve bow off of back ] And you have my bow. [unhooks hatchet from belt ] And my axe!
Lute/Songsteel: A vow with the golden ring of fellowship, to be sure. But unlike me, your arsenal is useless against this particular enemy.
Allyn/Jack: I fear he speaks true, Woodsman.
Will/Woodsman [sighing ]: Well, at least take a token for luck. [reaches into pocket, produces a large feather ] I nicked this from Simian’s wing. Here, stick it in your cap. You’ll look totally macaroni.
Allyn/Jack: I’ll look what?
Will/Woodsman: Cosmopolitan! Très chic! Yankee Doodle dandy!
Allyn/Jack: O-kaay… [affixes feather to cap ] [takes a deep, bracing breath ] Right, then. Here I go. And in case I never get another chance… [flings arms around Will in a fiercely tight hug ] Thank you for everything. You’ve been a wonderful father.
Will/Woodsman [squeezing back just as hard ]: Blast all, Jack, it’s too early in the scene to make me tear up like this. Get out there and kick tail before I start bawling.
[The embrace concluded, Allyn steps out of the trees and up to the towering gates.]
Allyn/Jack [raising Songsteel high ]: Let the dark lord of this castle come forth! And let justice be done upon him!
Little John/Beast [appearing – yipes! – out of the tree shadows right behind Will Scarlet to place a massive hand around his throat! ]: Brave words, Jack Snow.
[Allyn whips around, face taut with horror.]
Little John/Beast [cont.]: But are you brave enough to let this man die for your cause? For die he will, if you make one move against me.
Will/Woodsman: Never mind me, Jack! Attack! At-aughck! [chokes dramatically in the strangling hold ]
Allyn/Jack [stage-whispering ]: Now, Songsteel!
Lute/Songsteel [singing with heartrending beauty ]: Chestnu-u-uts roasting on an open fi-i-ire… Jack Fro-o-ost nipping at your no-o-ose…
[Little John stumbles away from Will, clawing at his own ears and yowling in pain as the carol goes on through the bits about turkey, mistletoe, and glowing-eyed tots. Then come the lyrical revisions.]
Lute/Songsteel [cont. ]: The chosen Sa-a-anta’s on his way. He’s brought his singing sword to Antichristmas slay. Wendy and Woodsman’s child bids you goodbye. Your night is ending, and a new dawn is nigh…
Little John/Beast [sinking lower and lower ]: I’m melting! I’m melting! Oh, what a world, make it stop!
Allyn/Jack [voice ringing with power ]: There is no stopping this. Now, Songsteel! Now, Woodsman! Now, monkey and Wendy! Now, all who’ve a part played here, your voices lend me!
[The gate backdrop rises, revealing Marion as Wendy Darling-Pan, Robin Hood as Simian the winged monkey, INSPIRED’s Abishan as himself, Sir Gawain and Sir Bedivere as the bridge trolls, and Edgwyn Wyle as the Puffwolf. Their voices join those of Allyn, Will, and Lute, not to mention the orchestra and a twenty-piece handbell choir.]
Ensemble [singing with beautiful gusto ]: And so we’re offering this simple phra-a-ase, for kids from one to ninety-two… Although it’s been said, many times, many wa-a-ays, Merry Christmas!…
Little John/Beast [“melted” nearly to the floor ]: Nooooo!
Ensemble: Merry Christmas!
Little John/Beast [feebly ]: Noooo…!
Ensemble: MERRY CHRIST-MAAAAAAS TO YO-O-OU!
[A mighty cheer goes up from everyone left alive on the stage. Hugs are exchanged, hats are tossed, and a sparkling snow begins falling from above.]
Will/Woodsman: The magic of music and Christmas combines, and ding-dong, the Beast is dead! I’m so happy, I could crow! [proceeds to do so, his discreet harness raising him up to fly in joyous loops over the stage ]
Allyn/Jack [laughing ]: And so shall we all live happily ever after, for with this, our fairytale ends.
Ensemble: [takes a bow ]
[The curtain falls.]
Will[‘s voice from behind the curtain ]: Wait, what? It’s over? Already??
Allyn[‘s voice, likewise from behind the curtain ]: What do you mean, “already”? We’ve been dragging this out for months!
Will: Well, yeah, but… I mean, do we even get an epilogue or something?
Allyn: That strikes me entirely superfluous, so no.
Will: Phooey. Ah, well. I’ll just have to come up with a new serial saga then. Whaddaya think? Space opera?
Allyn: Oh, dear…
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Chelsea de la Cruz and Steven Bourelle,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ and ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’.”
“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! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”