To Ware and Not to Wear (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 10)

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second 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: ‘To Ware and Not to Wear’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the Labyrinth set, in which stand Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow, Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED, and – in a shocking turn of events – Little John returned as the Antichristmas Beast!]

Annabelle: Antichristmas Beast? Who or what is that? And on a Uri scale of one to ten – one being trying to be fashionable in a big, floppy hat with flowers, ten being the End of All Days with no hope of salvation – how bad is it that we’re lost in the Labyrinth with this guy?

Allyn/Jack [darkly ]: He is my enemy. The enemy of peace and joy, hope and mercy, and essentially all things Christmas. An enemy I thought I had seen forever slain. How is it you now stand before me, Beast?

Little John/Beast: I am returned by the Shadow.

Sir Wilbur: As ominous as it is vague, that.

Annabelle: No kidding. “Inkheart”s Shadow, formed of fire and the ashes of Capricorn’s slaughtered victims? Classic radio’s Shadow, knower of what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Let’s have some specificity.

Little John/Beast [annoyed ]: I don’t have any specifics. I was dead – destroyed by the power of Snow’s sword – and then, without explanation, a creature calling itself only “the Shadow” conjured me into this maze. I’ve been roaming the corridors ever since, all alone. …until lo and behold, my old foe appears.

Allyn/Jack: What dark power would wish you restored to life?

Little John/Beast [glowering ]: Maybe some people actually like me. Did you ever think of that?

Allyn/Jack: In between those times you tried to kill me? No, the thought never once crossed my mind. If something brought you back, that something is bad news.

Annabelle: Scale of one to ten?

Allyn/Jack [eyeing Annabelle sidelong ]: Worse than a floppy, flowered hat.

“What?” I can hear Hatter say. “I would totally wear that!”

“What?” I can hear Hatter say. “I would totally wear that!”

Sir Wilbur: So we should beware this Shadow.

Annabelle: We should also beware being lost in the Labyrinth forever. We’re still missing the Mad Hatter and our way out.

Little John/Beast: I know the way out.

Sir Wilbur: Do you indeed? Then perhaps—

Allyn/Jack: No. Absolutely not. Don’t you dare propose we form a temporary alliance with my archnemesis. I won’t stand for it.

Annabelle: Aww. But hero/villain team-ups are so cool.

Sir Wilbur: And our options are limited, Jack. I’m not suggesting you should like your former enemy – only that you should consider setting aside your differences in favor of a common interest.

Annabelle: Diplomacy. It’s what his knightly order’s all about. “Talk first, slay as a last resort,” that’s their motto.

Sir Wilbur: Um, not verbatim, but near enough. What say you, Beast? Would you be willing to guide us safely from this place?

Little John/Beast [stroking beard in drawn-out thought ]: I might. On one condition. [points one large, clawed finger at Annabelle ] Her.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Steven Bourelle and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘big, floppy hat with flowers’ and ‘the Shadow from Inkheart’.”

“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!”

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