“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: ‘Not Your Queen Victoria’s Steampunk’!”
[The curtain rises a on a dimly-lit cave set, Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow and a jester-esquely attired Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki therein.]
Allyn/Jack: Loki! Where am I?
Lute/Loki: You’re the one who stepped through the Shortcut to Everywhere. You tell me: Where did you mean to go?
Allyn/Jack: I had no clear location in mind. Only wherever the Mad Hatter was.
Lute/Loki [hand clasped to heart ]: Wouldn’t he be touched to know you’ve missed him so much! And after he’d come to wonder whether you’d ever go back for him under the sky on Mount Atlas, too.
Allyn/Jack [dismayed ]: Don’t tell me he’s still stuck under there?!
Lute/Loki: No, not anymore, though no thanks to you. I’ve freed him and brought him here.
Allyn/Jack: Well, unless “here” is where we’ll find the Antichristmas Beast, we need to go. He’s got Annabelle and Wilbur, and without my singing sword, I’m not sure how we’re to beat him. I need Hatter’s mad genius to work out a way.
Will/Hatter [coming around the corner with some sort of bundle in his arms ]: One step ahead of you, Jack! [squinting ] If that’s Jack. Who can see well enough to tell? Why are we standing around in the dark, people? [flicks a switch on the wall, thus significantly brightening the cave ] Boo-ya! Steam-powered lightbulbs for the win!
Allyn/Jack: Steam power. Does that mean— [yet another lightbulb flickers on directly over his head ] They’re here, aren’t they? The Beast and the others, they took the Shortcut to Everywhere here, and you’ve been here waiting for them.
Will/Hatter: Only for ages! Thank nonsense you’re here and we can finally get moving. I’ve been insufferably bored. Here – [passes bundle to Allyn ] – put this on.
Allyn/Jack: But God rest ye merry, how did you know??
Lute/Loki: Come now, give me some credit. I’m not just a trickster. I’m also a god. That does come with some measure of omniscience. I’ve told Hatter all about the situation – including where to find your friends and enemy.
Allyn/Jack: Well, good! I— [stops short upon getting a better look at the bundle he’s been given; holds out a pair blue-green hose and bright-buckled jerkin ] What’s all this? Hardly the Victorian-era garb I’d expected.
Lute/Loki: Tut, don’t be narrow-minded, Jack. Steampunk can happen anywhere, and anytime! Medieval Sherwood, for instance.
Will/Hatter [grinning ]: That’s right, Jack. [trades out signature Mad Hatter hat for a pointed leather cap, its bold red feather affixed with a gear-shaped pin ] Time to rob from the Beast and give to the bored.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“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!”