“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
Allyn-a-Dale blinks in surprise. “What, really? After all this time? What throwback madness has possessed you now?”
“Well, the thing is this,” Will explains. “Danielle has been accumulating a lot of real-life news, lately. But she doesn’t like talking about herself, or about real life in general. Our author gal likes fiction. So you and I and our friends from the story world of the ‘Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”
“Available now,” Allyn inserts the obligatory plug.
“—Are going to talk about it for her, except one better, by adapting it into a skit! So make yourselves comfortable,” Will addresses the audience, “as we now present to you: ‘What’s New? What ISN’T?’!”
[The curtain rises on a table set for two, in one chair of which sits Robin Hood. Behind him, the backdrop shows other occupied tables in silhouette. Hidden speakers provide ambient chatter, laptop keyboard clacking, pop music, and calls for randomized names to come pick up their lattes – the volume of which fades as Allyn-a-Dale enters from stage right, costumed in hoodie, stylin’ boots, badass coat, broad-brimmed hat, and (the only departure from what he might wear on any given Outside venture) glasses.]
Robin [sitting up straighter with a smile ]: Danielle! So glad to see you!
Allyn/Danielle [taking seat opposite Robin ]: Robin, hiii! So glad we miraculously share a plane of reality today! Even if we have to share it in a public coffee shop full of noise and germs and people. I don’t suppose we could meet up in the forest, next time?
Robin: Bugs, though.
Allyn/Danielle [glum-faced ]: Oh, yeah.
Robin: But enough about establishing your characteristic phobias. How’s life in Yosemite National Park?
Allyn/Danielle: Oh, you haven’t heard? I don’t live there anymore.
Robin: No? Why ever not?
Allyn/Danielle [gaze in the distance – more specifically, on the backdrop shadows, shifting from its suggestion of a coffee shop interior into a mountainous skyline, featuring the iconic shapes of Half Dome, El Capitan, and the Three Brothers. ]: Well…
[The general stage lights dim, leaving two bright spotlights – one on Allyn, and one stage left, where enters Will Scarlet, wearing shorts, crocs, a lightweight hoodie against the glare of the California sun, sunglasses for the same purpose, and a T-shirt that reads ‘Flashback!’]
Will/Tirzah Duncan: Fare thee well, D! I’m moving back down the mountain!
Allyn/Danielle [rising in dismay ]: But bestie mine, you only recently joined me on staff at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel! How can you so soon abandon me??
Will/Tirzah: You know the long-game plan’s still to get a place with you, babe, but sharing a tent-cabin in the mountains with you and a random third roommate? Not sustainable. Besides, I applied for full-time work at the new Amazon facility in Fresno…
Allyn/Danielle: So did I!
Will/Tirzah: …And got hired!
Allyn/Danielle [plunking back miserably into chair ]: …I did not.
[The Will spot goes off. The general lights return, along with the coffee shop backdrop.]
Robin: Wait, what? Why in the world would the Amazon warehouse hire Tirzah, but not you? You’re equally dedicated workers!
Allyn/Danielle: One, it’s technically a fulfillment center, not a warehouse. Two, I KNOW, RIGHT? I was devastated. All I could do was ask myself—
Robin [sympathetically ]: What you’d done wrong?
Allyn/Danielle: No – ‘How would I handle this if I were an entitled white man?’
[Backdrop change! This time to a massive building with a smiling arrow logo. General lights, down. Spotlights up on Allyn and, stage left, Merlin, dressed from T-shirt to baseball cap to badge-carrying lanyard in Amazon gear and seated at a paperwork-covered folding table.]
Merlin/Amazon Rep: Will all prospective new hires please find your paperwork and have a seat.
Allyn/Danielle [standing, politely bright smile plastered on face ]: Yes, hello, I don’t believe you’ll find my name on your list, because there seems to have been a mistake.
Merlin/A.R.: What kind of mistake?
Allyn/Danielle: You didn’t hire me?
Merlin/A.R.: Have a seat.
[Back at the coffee shop…]
Robin [awed, amazed, maybe even admiring ]: Wait … so you just walked in … and they hired you on the spot??
Allyn/Danielle: Lol, if only. I mean, yes to the part where I just walked in like a ballsy boss, but it didn’t land me a job. They just told me I could reapply when more positions opened up. But time marched on and on, and nothing.
Robin: At least you had the Yosemite job in the meantime, though.
Allyn/Danielle: Without Tirzah? It was torment! What use is money when the only way to share it with those you love is to take a 3-hour bus ride down the mountain for a too-short visit on weekends? No, good sir, I put in my notice and followed her to Fresno. I blogged about it and everything. [wounded expression ] Doesn’t anybody read my posts?
Robin: Right, of course, just slipped my mind. So you got a part-time job somewhere…?
Allyn/Danielle [with a scoff ]: More like part-part-time. There were hardly any hours to speak of. If I wanted anything like a steady paycheck, I needed a second gig.
Robin: Did you find one?
Allyn/Danielle [looking haunted ]: Briefly.
[Backdrop changes to a line of cars. Seated before the shape of the front-most vehicle stage left, detached steering wheel in hand, is a spot-lit Loren McCaughley.]
Loren: Yes, lemme get the, uh, number seven? Sorry – five?
Allyn/Danielle [resignedly replacing awesome hat with a Burger King cap and microphone headset ]: One number five. Would you like to make that a medium or a large combo?
Loren: Um, large, with a— do you have diet (mumble-mumble)?
Allyn/Danielle: I’m sorry? Could you repeat that, please? Oh, diet root beer. Yes, we do. Will that complete your order?
Loren: Yeah, that’s all.
Allyn/Danielle: All right, I’ll see you at the second window. Thanks so much.
[Coffee shop returns.]
Robin: That… does not sound like a job you’d enjoy.
Allyn/Danielle [speaking noncommittal volumes while returning to the better hat ]: Mm.
Robin: But you said ‘briefly’. So you weren’t there long, right? What happened next?
Allyn/Danielle [brightening ]: Ah. Now we’re getting to the good part…
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
Allyn startles. “But we’re only halfway finished.”
“So ‘scene to be continued next week’,” Will amends. “Meanwhile, my beautiful audience, if you enjoyed yourselves (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!”