“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: ‘Doctor Wha—?’!”
[The curtain rises on a single spotlight on the stage’s far end. Inside the spot, built atop a platform (currently stationary, but with rotation capabilities), is a tricked-out, sci-fantastic console built around a sort of pillar of light hung with cables, immediately recognizable (to Doctor Who fans, anyway) as a low-budget attempt at the interior of the TARDIS. Piloting this selfsame time/space machine is Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter, sporting a dark leather jacket lined with brilliant red, high-top canvas sneakers, and a fez with Hatter-chic embellishments including a broad ribbon, a feather, hat pins, and a sonic screwdriver. Looking on as the Hatter Doctor’s companions are Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED, each of whom has swapped bodies with the other.]
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Is this really simpler than raising Jack Snow from the dead?
Will/Hatter Doctor [flipping thingamajigs and spinning doohickeys]: Oh, no comparison! That kind of resurrection would involve sending me into a full mind-and-body crisis, letting my Shadow loose on the underworld, and locating a body suitable to house a Christmas spirit without melting into goop. All that and we’d still have to catch up to the Antichristmas Beast in Jack’s body before he wreaks havoc on the North Pole. With the head start he’s got, time wouldn’t be on our side. Fortunately, it is on a Time Lord’s!
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: I hadn’t been aware you were a Time Lord.
Will/Hatter Doctor [grinning ]: I wear many hats. Next stop: The past!
[The spotlight brightens and dims, brightens and dims, as the platform spins a one-eighty. When the spot darkens for the last time, the other stage lights shine onto the rocky wall of a mountain set. Now facing the audience on the platform is the door to a big, blue police public call box, out of which step our players.]
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: You brought us back to Mount Atlas?
Will/Hatter Doctor: Look again, Annabelle. We’re not in mythological Greece. This is Middle Earth! And that – [pointing ] – is the Lonely Mountain. Jack and I passed by here on the way to our first meeting with you.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Goodness, that was acts and acts ago! You might have aimed for a point in time and space a little nearer to the moment of your Shadow’s release in Steampunk Sherwood.
Will/Hatter Doctor: First things first, your knightliness. Since you and I can’t cross our timelines without making the universe explode into a mess of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey madness, we need someone who wasn’t anywhere near that point to remake history. And I know just the dragon.
Annabelle and Wilbur [in unison ]: Dragon!?
[Will steps up to the mountain to rap a fist against the wall, calling, “Doo-weeeeeee-ooooo! Wakey, wakey, dragon!” A hidden door swings open, and out slips the massive chocolate-scaled puppet head of S’more the candy dragon, blinking glowing eyes, tendrils of smoke curling from its nostrils.]
S’more: “Wakey, wakey”?
Will/Hatter Doctor: Perhaps you’d prefer “rise and shine”? “Up and at ‘em”? “Allons-y”?
S’more [eyes narrowing ]: I would prefer to be allowed an uninterrupted rest. Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
Will/Hatter Doctor [backing away slowly ]: Soooo, that’s a “no” to the offer of becoming the candy dragon that saves Christmas. Quite all right. Have it your own way. No need to snack on anybody. [cups hand to ear; raises voice to some distant somewhere ] What’s that, Bunbury? Hold on, I’ll be right there!
[Will flees to the police box door, Annabelle and Sir Wilbur right behind him. The lights go up and down once more, the platform rotating until the spotlight’s back on the TARDIS interior.]
Will/Hatter Doctor: Welp, so much for my unlikely Plan A.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Who was that you were calling out to, just before we left?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Pretty sure that was just some classic Bunburying, a la what’s-his-name in The Importance of Being Ernest.
Will/Hatter Doctor: Actually, no – “Bunbury” is what I’ve nicknamed the TARDIS.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: What happened to “Sexy”?
Will/Hatter Doctor [shrugging]: I might bring it back. Any ideas for where we should look for a hero next?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: How about—
Will/Hatter Doctor: FanTAStic idea!
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: She didn’t say anything.
Will/Hatter Doctor: She did earlier. And now we’re setting course for later! [flips a switch on the console, sending the lights all a-flicker once again ] Geronimo-o-o-o-o!
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Bunburying’ and ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup’.”
“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!”