“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every other Friday—” says Allyn-a-Dale.
“*cough* Give or take,” Will inserts.
“—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 Desecration of Smaug’!”
[The curtain rises on a pair of theatre chairs, in which Will Scarlet and Allyn-a-Dale sit side by side, a tub of popcorn balanced between them. Their gazes, enhanced by old-school 3D glasses, are trained outward, as if a movie screen hovers over the Interactive Theatre audience’s heads.]
Allyn [in an aggravated stage whisper ]: Oh, for the love of all, get off the screen!
Will [mouth full ]: You mad, bro?
Allyn: We’re supposed to be watching a hobbit face a dragon, but we keep cutting back to a contrived Elf/Dwarf faux-mance that nobody asked for! Why do book-to-film adaptations always have to change everything?
Will: Everything? Oh, little minstrel, they could have changed so much more…
[The stage lights go out, and a projected title screen appears on the backdrop, reading:
THE HOBBIT: THE DESECRATION OF SMAUG
When the lights return, Marion Hood is creeping across the stage on hobbit feet toward a pile of prop gold and jewels.]
Marion/Bilbo Baggins: No sign of the dragon. Maybe he’s long gone from the depths of the Elf king’s cellar after all.
Scary Dragon Voice: Think again!
[Out from the treasure pile thrusts the puppet head of S’more the Candy Dragon.]
Marion/Bilbo: S’more?! But what’s become of Smaug?
S’more: He was delicious. As will you be, little mouthful.
Marion/Bilbo: Not today, sugar lizard. [raises fist high, a band of gold gleaming on one finger ] Magic ring: Activate!
[The stage goes black.]
Marion/Bilbo[‘s voice in the dark ]: I’m… not sure that’s what I meant to happen.
A Distinctly Gollum-esque Voice [accompanied by a pair of eyes glowing ghoulishly ]: Who’s there, Precious? It’s been ages since any but goblinses have come this way.
Marion/Bilbo: Ages? But I was here just weeks ago. Unless… Say, Gollum – does the name Baggins mean anything to you?
Gollum: Baggins? Never heard of a Baggins before.
Marion/Bilbo: Ah, well, that explains it. Must’ve accidently set off the ring’s time travel feature instead of—
Gollum [shrieking, glowing eyes bobbing in agitation ]: Ring?! Thief! You stole it from us!
Marion/Bilbo: Whoopsies. Magic ring: Activate again! Back to the future!
[The lights return, but the treasure pile’s gone, replaced with the interior of a bachelor apartment’s living room. At the window – which conveniently frames an image of Big Ben and the Eye of London – robe draped over pajamas and violin balanced on his shoulder, stands Gant-o’-the-Lute.]
Lute/Guess Who [pauses violin music ]: John, what in the world are you supposed to be?
Marion/Bilbo: It’s for a case, Sherlock.
Allyn [bursting in the apartment door ]: All right, stop, just stop! This is an utter mess, Will, even for you.
Will [popping up from behind the couch ]: A bigger mess than the Elf/Dwarf faux-mance?
Lute and Marion [in unison ]: Easily.
Will: Well then, let that be a lesson in gratitude for you, Allyn. Things can always be worse.
Allyn: And let this be a lesson in plot construction for you.
Allyn [slaps tome into Will’s hands ]: A book. Sit. Read. I’ll get the popcorn. [exits through door as Will flips through the pages ]
Will [calling after him ]: Wait. Allyn? I think this book’s broken. The 3D glasses aren’t making the words pop at all…
Marion [glancing at Lute ]: Should we tell him?
Lute [indifferently resumes playing violin ]: With what little we’re paid for this nonsense, we don’t owe him that.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audiences members Chelsea and Kelton de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Bilbo Baggins’ and ‘time travel’.”
“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!”