“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: ‘The Shortcut to Everywhere’!”
[The curtain rises on our players – Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow, Little John as the Antichristmas Beast, and Sir Wilbur Lamb and Annabelle Gray from INSPIRED – navigating the shifting walls of the Labyrinth set.]
Allyn/Jack: I must warn you once again, Annabelle, that this is most ill-advised. We cannot trust the Beast!
Annabelle: So fine, I won’t trust him. That doesn’t mean I can’t go along with his request. As a character, all he wants is a story. As an author, all I want is to write them. Seems like a good trade, to me.
Sir Wilbur [in a quiet aside to Allyn ]: Don’t worry, Jack. She won’t go anywhere with your enemy alone. We’ll be there every step of the way to look after her.
Little John/Beast [stopping before a glass door with all sorts of fancy light and smoke effects swirling behind it ]: This is it. The Shortcut to Everywhere. All anyone need do is step through, and they will find themselves instantly transported to wherever they most wish to go.
Allyn/Jack [to the audience, expression bright ]: Anywhere! Why, that means I could at last go home!
Annabelle: Sweet! So, what kind of story were you thinking about going for, A.B.? Same genre as before, or shall we branch away from fairytales? And what sort of role do you want, this time? There’s no shame in staying the villain, you know. Every story needs a good bad guy. It’s one of life’s essentials. Like the color blue.
Sir Wilbur: I don’t see how either villainy or blueness is a life essential.
Annabelle [patting Wilbur’s hand ]: Then you’re just going to have to take my word for it.
Allyn/Jack [still to the audience, now frowning ]: But if I return to the North Pole, it will be Wilbur and Annabelle alone against the Antichristmas Beast. If he means to betray them, as he surely does, it is unlikely they will be able to come out the victors. Can I so simply leave them behind?
Little John/Beast: Villainy is but a matter of point of view. Do I want to stay evil? Naturally. But that doesn’t mean I have to be the antagonist. I want to be the antihero. As for genre… [strokes beard, musing ] I’ve always been curious to explore Steampunk.
Annabelle: Ooh, the possibilities! I think I feel some inspiration coming on…
Allyn/Jack [still to the audience, scowling ]: How is this even my problem? I’m not the madman who dragged us all into this mess in the first place. It was that blasted Hatter! He’s the one who should have to deal with the Beast, not me! And where is he? …No, seriously. Where in the worlds is he??
Little John/Beast: Then let us be gone.
[He extends a clawed paw-hand to Annabelle, who accepts it with less trepidation than would be wisest. Sir Wilbur nods who Allyn, who’s still in a clearly conflicted state. Girl and Beast step through the doorway, with Sir Wilbur right behind, leaving Allyn alone in the Labyrinth.]
Allyn/Jack [frustrated ]: Oh… Groundhog Day.
[He lunges through the doorway. Much fancy lighting and great billows of smoke follow. When it all clears, the Labyrinth set is gone, replaced by a dimly lit cave that could belong just about anywhere. Before Allyn can voice the question evident on his face, Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki appears from around a corner in a colorful jester’s motley.]
Lute/Loki: So glad you could join me, Jack Snow. Time to get you suited up! The real fun’s about to begin.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Chelsea de la Cruz and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘a good bad guy’ and ‘the color blue’.”
“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!”