“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every second Friday,” 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: ‘Things That Go Bang in the Woods’!”
[The curtain rises on a woodland scene. Crouched before the trees center stage, as if in hiding, are Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter and Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow, both in Steampunk Merry Men garb.]
Allyn/Jack: Any sign of them?
Will/Hatter: No, but have patience. Loki said he’d bring the Antichristmas Beast and the others right to us.
Allyn/Jack: I’ve yet to understand why we’ve decided to trust a trickster god.
Will/Hatter: Maybe we’re just religious like that.
[Rather than reply, Allyn cocks his ear toward some soft sound, steadily growing into quite the scream-filled racket.]
Allyn/Jack: What in the world is that?
Will/Hatter [eyebrows raised ]: Sounds like a nun falling down a flight of stairs.
Allyn/Jack: And you would know that sound because…?
Will/Hatter: I’m telling you, religion and I have a history. Would you believe I’ve been ordained by the Church of Wonderland?
Allyn/Jack: Alas, I fear I would.
[A mighty crash sounds from offstage, complete with bright, smoky fireworks blasting in from stage left. Both players look over, rightly startled.]
Allyn/Jack: A fallen airship! O holy night, don’t tell me our friends were on it?!
Will/Hatter [looking “skyward”]: All right, I won’t. You can figure it out on your own while we get out of sight. Come on!
[Will and Allyn scurry around to the other side of the prop trees while another set of players are lowered from above on cables made out to look like parachutes – Little John as the Antichristmas Beast, and Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED.]
Annabelle [coming to a landing ]: Whew! Good thing the airship came stowed with emergency landing gear, or that would’ve been ugly.
Little John/Beast: It will be ugly when I get my hands on that Loki character. Thought you were pretty sly, did you, author? Writing that mischief-maker into my story of Nottingham Sheriff-hood.
Annabelle: I didn’t have anything to do with that! But it would serve you right if I had, after your sudden but, in retrospect, inevitable betrayal! I should have heeded Jack’s advice about you from the first.
Sir Wilbur: Well, we didn’t. And I lost my sword in the crash. So we can only hope—
Little John/Beast [whipping out a pistol ]: That I didn’t have another one of these?
Sir Wilbur [glumly ]: Yes. That.
Allyn/Jack[’s voice from behind his tree ]: I’d put that away, were I you, Sheriff.
Little John/Beast [as Allyn emerges with a pistol of his own ]: So, the chosen Santa Claus has turned outlaw. How naughty.
Will/Hatter [coming around his own tree, overcomplicated-looking mechanical bow drawn ]:
And yet, we make it look so nice. Game over, punk: We’ve got you out-steamed. By the power vested in me by the Church of Wonderland, I order you to—
Little John/Beast: [levels pistol at Will and shoots him ]
Allyn/Jack, Annabelle, and Wilbur: NOOOO!
[Will looks down at what gives every appearance of being a bloody hole in his chest … and starts laughing like crazy.]
Will/Hatter [his smile straight-up scary mad ]: My, my, my. Now you’ve done it. [slumps to the ground, smiling wider still as an alarming amount of black smoke billows up out of his mouth]
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience member Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘a nun falling down a flight of stairs’ and ‘fireworks’.”
“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!”