The Bloopers of Allyn-a-Dale

The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”s Launch Week+ is nearing its end! Only this post and one last Kiss & Tell interview to go, at which time I’ll announce the winners of my Rafflecopter giveaway. So if you want your best chance at one of the prizes on offer (including a Merry Men-signed map of Avalon Faire, a tote bag from my Society6 store, a paperback copy of Tirzah Duncan’s “Grace the Mace”, or a one-of-a-kind bookmark), you’ll get those entries in before Friday!

Now, onto today’s hurrah. As I certainly hope you all know by now, “Ballad” is a book, not a movie. And while I’ll take a book over a movie 9 days out of 10, there is one advantage that filmed media have over the printed word:

Blooper reels.

I mean, just imagine how funny it would be to have cut footage of the Merry Men ‘n’ ‘em goofing up their performance of the story!

Or, wait a minute… We totally CAN imagine that! So hey, for today’s post, what say we all just suspend our disbelief for a moment and see what happens “on set”…

Director Will

<<<>>>

Overture, Take 1

Marion’s full lips turned downward in disapproval. The place had been closed to guests for hours. All nonresidents should have been long gone, not loitering around the Faire, and certainly not wandering so deep into Sherwood.

Taking hold of the knife at her hip, she moved away from her half-concealed position and made her presence known.

“Make no sudden movements, please,” she requested, polite but firm, and silently struggling to remove the knife from its sheath. Blast the props department — why wouldn’t the wretched blade come loose? The young man — not yet out of his teens, at first guess — obediently froze.

“Thank you,” Marion said — and, giving up the lost cause of drawing the knife, improvised, “And so you know, I can menace you just as well with my bare hands and razor wit, so take care.”

Quoth the young man, distinctly over-solemn, “No doubt.”

The sniggering author called, “Cut!

<<<>>>

Stanza Three, Take 4

“Aquinore,” the cold one said, moving in the blink of an eye to loom over Allyn-a-Dale. “Wind of the North.” He held out a hand which Allyn did not dare refuse to meet, even though, in the excruciating seconds before the mutual touch was over, he feared with a musician’s panic that his own hand was in danger of freezing right off.

“Austeryn.” The mist-mantled wind gusted smoothly up next. “Wind of the South.” When this touch of greeting ended, to Allyn’s profound relief, his hand felt a little thawed, albeit a great deal wetter.

“Euro—” KRA-BOOM!

“Cut!” cried the author. “Euroval, I told you: Just the hand-clasp, right now. We have to add the lightning and thunder in edits, or you’ll blow out the cameras and mics!”

The Wind of the East scowled. “How is that fair? My brothers got to—”

“Affect the temperature and humidity? Yeah, not the same. Kindly restrain your powerful presence in the next take, alright? From the top of the intros, people. Places!”

<<<>>>

Stanza Four, Take 2

Gawain opened the door wider, admitting another man dressed in the same metal underclothes and crested tunic. The second man stood imposingly tall (compared to all save Little John), his face cool and proud, his sweep of hair an astonishing, if muted, shade of silver-gold. In his hands, he bore an object of some great length enveloped in a purple cloth. This he strode forward to offer up to King Arthur, who stepped down from his elevated seat to remove the cloth, and withdrew from its finely wrought scabbard of golden leather— I say, and withdrew… (psst, Arthur – what’s the trouble?)

Arthur’s brows knitted in vexation. “Sorry, just… *grunts* …can draw the sword from a stone, but not its own scabbard… There we go!” he sighed as the magnificent blade pulled free at last. “Sheesh, are we to have nothing but scabbard troubles in this production?”

Merlin’s ironic look for the camera could’ve come straight out of “The Office”.

<<<>>>

Stanza Five, Take 7

Will led Allyn into the quaintly congested interior of a bookseller’s shop, reasoning to himself that to do so didn’t count as spilling secrets. If anything, it was a cover-up, Avalon-style.

“Behold,” he said, the sweep of his hand sending a shelf-top display crashing to the floor. Jumps and cries of startlement all around, plus an explosive curse from Will Scarlet. “Of all the places to stack a bunch of books …Ahem, anyway.”

A slightly less extravagant gesture indicated the clutter at his feet.  “Novels. Picture books. Coloring boo— Allyn, leave those there! This is still usable! Everybody just carry on like my klutz attack was scripted. Lord knows they usually are…”

“As could my act of tidiness have been scripted,” said Allyn, exasperated, “if you hadn’t said that.”

Will opened his mouth. Closed it. Hung his head. Grumbled a few more words his author wasn’t about to print outright and knelt to help Allyn gather up the books for the next take.

<<<>>>

Stanza Eleven, Take 1

“Oh! There they are!” said Marion, half-risen from her chair. Through the window could be seen the minivan Robin had selected, moving only semi-erratically up alongside the front of the bakery. …and which then just kept on going, right out of frame and beyond. The Merry Men inside the donut shop exchanged glances.

“Wasn’t he supposed to stop and pick us up?” said Marion.

“Yes,” said Robin. “Yes, he was.”

Allyn pointed out, “I did suggest a stunt double do the actual driving.”

“Yes. Yes, you did.”

“Do you think Will even knows where the brake pedal is?”

“No,” Robin said into the hand pressed over his face. “No, I don’t.”

Marion nodded slowly, eyes on the various personnel hastening after the runaway van. “Okey-dokey, then.”

<<<>>>

Stanza Fifteen, Take 3

“…Then, of course, there’s the radio.”

“And what does that do?” Allyn asked.

Will’s eyebrows bowed up. “What, didn’t you know? Radios play music.”

The magic word. “Music? They do?”

“Yep. News shows and sports and things, too, of course, but mostly music. Go on — why don’t you see if you can find a little something to drive by?”

Buzzing with anticipation, Allyn ran his fingers over the hodgepodge of buttons, finally settling on and gingerly pressing the one marked “power.” At once, sections of the system lit up in red and blue-green, and a blast of sound filled the minivan’s interior:

“NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP,

NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN,

NEVER GONNA RUN AROUND AND DESERT YOU…”

“No…” Will’s gasp was filled with horror and delight in equal measure. “Who did this?!

Allyn’s wide eyes were all alarm. “What’s happening?”

In the seats behind them, the wickedly laughing Hoods exchanged high-fives, crowing, “#Rickrolled!”

<<<>>>

Ahhh, what could have been! But happily, the first Outlaws of Avalon novel is full of laughs as-is – lauded as “fun, humorous” and “thoroughly delightful”, even without a menu full of special features.

Though really… isn’t a special features menu kind of what this Launch Week+ has been? ;D

<<<>>>

Ballad Cover, front 02

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

AVAILABLE NOW!

*Bonus*: #HypotheticalFAQs

How many wizards does it take to change a light bulb?

Will Scarlet, adopting a glowering gray drawl: “The light bulb will change when it’s meant to.”

I See Red-Headed People (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who—” He performs a double take, startling at the belated realization that the chair across from his own is already occupied. “Who-o-o have we here?”

“The creation of author Ginger C. Mann,” says Allyn. “Namely—”

“Betty,” the pudgy, older woman interjects. “My nieces and nephews call me Aunt Betty. But you, handsome… you can just call me Betty.” She bats her eyes coyly at her host.

Ever the professional at rolling with the punches, Will flashes a hospitable grin. “Betty it is! So glad you could join me. First things first – is popping up onstage unannounced right under the nose of security your only gift, or are you a woman of many talents?”

Betty tosses back a head full of thick, red hair and flashes a toothy grin. “I am a br-ILLIANT organist, and I am also a Montessori teacher – or, I was. Then, my husband Timothy died, and the whole world came after me. Every bank in town wanted a piece of my property, my money, my flesh…” She stops talking suddenly and looks over her shoulder as if she hears something. “I’m in the witness protection program,” she whispers directly to the camera. “Don’t tell anyone!”

“I have no doubt our international audience’s lips are sealed,” Will assures her. “Mum’s the word, hey, Allyn?”

Allyn’s voice wafts in from off-camera. “Did you say the banks want your flesh?”

Betty nods emphatically. “It was just fine, just fine, until the day the underworld opened up and spit zombie bankers all over Nacogdoches, Texas! No going out after that happened, not even to play my organ at the Baptist church. I just stayed in that house as long as I could and…” She checks a watch on her wrist, then digs in her purse for something. “I think it’s past my medication time.”

“I was just thinking something similar,” Allyn is heard to murmur. Will waves for him to shush, blinking in bemusement all the while.

Setting down her purse as if she has forgotten what she wanted from it, Betty carries on. “Well, when the zombies took over my house, and the vampires kicked me out of town…”

“Vampires be like,” Will tuts sympathetically.

“I called my niece, Beverly,” Betty continues. “Haven’t seen her for twenty years, but she took me in. So kind of her.”

“I’ll say. Three huzzahs for family you can count on in your time of need! How are you enjoying your stay with your niece so far?”

“Her place is so full – she has three kids! – she put me in a spare room that she made out of a giant pantry. Cute little room, all stringer lights and mirrors in there. But the mirrors work just a little too well.”

Will cocks his head. “How do you mean?”

“I’m seein’ that the place is,” Betty whispers behind her hand, “oc-cu-PIED! I’m roomin’ with a ghost, Will Scarlet, a ghost that lives in my family’s haunted house in Lake Charles, Louisiana.” She pauses, staring at the host, to let this sink in.

“Good Lord,” cries Will. “Zombie bankers, vampires, ghosts… You, Aunt Betty, are positively plagued with the paranormal! The ghost hasn’t tried to eat you or run you across state lines, has it?”

Shaking her head, Betty whispers again, “The ghost likes me, and it follows me around.” She looks over her shoulder. “Everywhere. But my family don’t believe me. Can’t say why.”

A second cough – this one from off-camera – suggests Allyn may be in possession of a theory or two.

“Everyone’s a skeptic,” says Will, with a supportive pat for his guest’s hand. “It’s clear you’ve got a lot to deal with, just now, so I won’t keep you haunting this stage much longer. Just one more question, if you would. Tell me, what is your author Ginger’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret? Or—”

“Ginger?” Betty’s eyes blink as she snaps back to attention. “Oh, you mean the tall woman who is always walking up behind me and listenin’ in? She’s not so bad. We sit out on the porch together, and sometimes she plays duets with me on the organ. Occasionally, she plays with my students. She’s behind me now, in fact. She’s become a friend of sorts, but she’s awfully shifty. Must be what happens after a person dies.”

“Wha—?!” Will startles half out of his chair. “Ginger?! But I thought—”

“Oh right, I forgot to mention that – she’s dead. Dead people are the only ones who actually ‘get’ me, you know. Some of them are hanging out right here, Will Scarlet. My own social club. There’s a banker, an author, a railroad worker, a banjo player.” She whispers behind her hand, “Kinda wish that one would go on ‘into the light,’ know what I’m sayin’? Then there are all of the little kids that want me to teach them somethin’.”

A hair curler flies across the set, followed by another one. “Jimmy! I told you not to throw those things at—” She turns to Will. “Excuse me, you know toddlers, they love hair curlers.”

Betty steps off-camera for a moment. From off-set, her voice drifts in, “And put them back in your bag. We always put our work away. Maria Montessori said—” From the other direction, the sound of a filmy drum track simulates a foxtrot. “Carly! I’m not available for your lesson now, pipe down…!”

She wanders back on set, her thick red hair sticking up at odd angles, looking bewildered. “Oh, hi,” she says to Will Scarlet, “I don’t believe we have met. My name is Betty.”

“Um…” says Will, nonplussed.

With a look of recognition, she snaps her head up hard enough to make the loose flesh on her neck jiggle. “Oh, right! Well, I don’t want to go bragging, but I see folks nobody else ever sees. And I think they like it. Some days, I wish they didn’t. You are awfully understanding too, Mr. Will Scarlet. I mean, it’s like I’ve known you forever. Wait, when did you say you were born? Or did you…” Betty peers at Will Scarlet with increasing curiosity. “Where is your body buried, Mr. Will Scarlet?”

His eyes pop wide open, his face gone white behind a strained smile. Allyn,” he hisses out the side of his mouth. “How the devil does she know I’ve died?”

“Admit nothing,” Allyn hisses back. “Change the subject.”

Will’s focus whips back to Betty, blurting, “Would you like to kiss me?”

“I’ll gladly kiss a man as good looking as you, Mr. Will Scarlet.” Betty’s eyes turn sideways, and she cranes her head to look behind Will Scarlet. “But up until now, I think my student was busy with you. Why don’t you take the curlers out of your hair first?”

“Curlers? What curl— oh.” Having turned toward the live-streaming monitors, Will belatedly notes that his golden-red locks have been somehow rolled into a set of lime green hair curlers.

“On second thought…” Betty puts on a fresh coat of fire-engine red lipstick. “You look great to me. Pucker up!”

“Puckering up.” Will sweeps Betty into his arms, swings her ‘round, and dips her low, calling over her head, “Allyn, how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, determinedly ignoring anything else taking place on this stage, “was brought to you by Ginger C. Mann’s ‘The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty’ – included in ‘Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss’, launching tomorrow.”

Beyond the Wail, full spread

“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says. “Thanks to you as well, Betty …and, um, Betty’s ghostly coterie. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

We Are Most Amused

Once upon a while back, I told you about how my fellow Bristol Ren Faire Town Crier alumnus set me up with my first-ever author event with her writing group. Among many other worthy highlights, I made mention of the fact that I’d been privileged to read an early copy of a script my host was working on – a little something inspired by my very own “INSPIRED”.

Fast forward to the present, where the show has moved from page to stage. “aMUSEd”, written and directed by Megan Ann Jacobs, is aliiiiiiiive! And you’d better believe I was there on opening night!

aMUSEd, cover photo

Me and my Daddy, awaiting curtain-up!
Me and my Daddy, awaiting curtain-up!

aMUSEd, centerfold

Presented by the Milwaukee Entertainment Group, “aMUSEDd” was staged at a lovely old-homey bed and breakfast, the Brumder Mansion. The mansion’s owners, Tom and Julie Carr, are not only the providers of the show’s venue, but its producers. Like my own family’s residence, the Brumder has been around since the Victorian era. Unlike our home, it has a gorgeous little threatre in its basement.

aMUSEd, Brumder Mansion

Interior shots of but one of the Brumder’s fancy rooms. (Hi, Dad! Hi, piano I refrained from playing!)
Interior shots of but one of the Brumder’s fancy rooms. (Hi, Dad! Hi, piano I refrained from playing!)
aMUSEd, stage
The stage in all its pre-showtime glory.

The seed of a single inciting incident has bloomed and branched into two magnificent tales. In the first, the untimely end of the author of Lucianíel, muse and light elemental, became Luc and Annabelle’s story, as novelized by yours truly. In the second, the death of Anita (Lori Morse) sends Sebastian, Muse of Comedy (Josh Scheibe) into a slump of poltergeist-esque depression as he does all in his power to keep any new tenants from taking over his late instrument’s apartment. Too bad for Sebastian, Nikki (Madeline Bunke) doesn’t plan on going anywhere – not least because, following a tragic loss of her own, Nikki’s had as tough a time as Sebastian moving forward.

Good thing they’ve got each other! And when I say “good thing”, I mean “hilarious thing”.

Pre-production photos courtesy of Ross Zentner Photography; http://www.rosszentner.com/rosszentner.com/Main.html
Pre-production photos courtesy of Ross Zentner Photography; http://www.rosszentner.com/rosszentner.com/Main.html

But it wasn’t all laughs. Both I and the light elemental looking out from my head had our hearts battered by Sebastian and Anita’s relationship. The deep connection between Muse and vessel of inspiration is a precious thing, and Scheibe and Morse played it for every bit of pathos it was worth. To watch their characters’ time together come to an end was a bittersweet thing indeed.

Pre-production photos courtesy of Ross Zentner Photography; http://www.rosszentner.com/rosszentner.com/Main.html
Pre-production photos courtesy of Ross Zentner Photography; http://www.rosszentner.com/rosszentner.com/Main.html

aMUSEd pre-production, N and TThen out steps Bunke as Nikki, giving Scheibe a run for his money in the category of “most comedic facial expressions ever”. Gotta love when silent gags and dialogue work hand in hand.

Also making his presence known in a big way was Nate Press as Tyler, the overloud, oversharing, and basically over-the-top landlord trying to juggle a reputedly haunted unit and his own relationship issues. Although I’d never want such a someone all up in my personal space in real life, it was a wicked delight to watch everyone else onstage have to deal with his escalation factor.

Rounding out the cast were Olivia Gonzales as Kasey, the NYPD officer who gets called into this apartment’s shenanigans one time too many (no-nonsense cop, meet ALL the nonsense!), and Phil Stepanksi as Ryan, Nikki’s long-suffering fiancé who’s got longer suffering ahead of him before this Muse-bestirred mess resolves. Word to the wise: Don’t let an immortal touch your cell phone. Or your frying pan.

Pre-production photos courtesy of Ross Zentner Photography; http://www.rosszentner.com/rosszentner.com/Main.html
Pre-production photos courtesy of Ross Zentner Photography; http://www.rosszentner.com/rosszentner.com/Main.html

All told, this was a fun production, one that both my novel’s protagonists and I deem an excellent portrayal of the magic of stories and the souls that give them life.

Hats off to Megan Ann Jacobs and everyone involved! The show runs at the Brumder through October 17th, so if Milwaukee’s not beyond your reach, I urge you to get out there and be very much “aMUSEd”!

Alone in a New York apartment, the god of comedy is melancholy, and he wants everyone to know it.

Though bound to find a new person to inspire and complete an unfinished story, Sebastian, the last remaining Greek Muse, mourns the passing of his latest instrument and friend, amusing himself by successfully spooking, pranking, and sabotaging every opportunity for a potential replacement.

Until Nikki.

Driven by her own personal demons, Nikki stubbornly battles with Sebastian for mastery of the apartment. Though fully engulfed in their feud, things get all the more complicated when the two are plagued by an over-involved landlord, a well-intentioned fiancé, and a dramatic Sebastian-orchestrated duel between the two that results in good old-fashioned police intervention. “aMUSEd” captures and explores our tendency to honor the dead by refusing to live, and leads us, through the ancient art of comedy, to live with the past and move forward.

Megan’s bio (as lifted from the “aMUSEd” playbill): Megan studied English and theatre at Wisconsin Lutheran College. There she played Becky in Becky’s New Car, Lady Macbeth (act 2) and ensemble in, In Spite of Thunder, and Sarah in New York, to name a few. Since then she has worked for Theatre Unchained, Memories Dinner Theatre, and she is thrilled to add the Brumder to the list. aMUSEd marks the beginning of both Megan’s career as a playwright and director. She is beyond grateful for the faith, trust, and support the Milwaukee Entertainment Group has given her. Megan is very proud to announce that after making its world premier on this stage, aMUSEd will be produced at two other Theatre Companies this year: The Bay Players & Memories Dinner Theatre. Megan would like to tank this dedicated cast and crew for all of their hard work and talent. Without them these words would never have left the page.

My little Luc in a lightbulb approves.
My little Luc in a lightbulb approves. ^_^

The Three Happy Horses (Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“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 Three Happy Horses’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a stage right spotlight, shining down upon Robin Hood in an armchair, an ornate storybook in his lap.]

Robin/Narrator: Once upon a time, in a world where fairytales and Renaissance Faires collide, there were Three Happy Horses. Happy Horse Pony…

[A light shines on Allyn-a-Dale, his hat sprouting horse ears, and a silky tail hanging from his pants.]

Allyn/Pony [blandly ]: Such happiness is mine.

Robin/Narrator [cont.]: …Happy Horse Stud…

[Will Scarlet leaps into Allyn’s light, sporting horse ears and a tail of his own, in addition to a cool leather jacket.]

Will/Stud: It’s good to be equine!

Robin/Narrator [cont.]: …and the Happy Horse That Took Down Troy.

[Little John steps into the light, his ears stuck atop an ancient Greek warrior’s helmet, his tail red with the blood of his enemies.]

Little John/Trojan Horse [in his typical deadpan rumble ]: Neigh.

(I swear I don't actually have too much time on my hands...)
(I swear I don’t actually have too much time on my hands…)

[As the Three Horses exit stage left, the lights brighten to reveal a festive Faire backdrop, and the beribboned pole standing tall before it.]

Robin/Narrator: May Day upon them and feeling frisky with springtime, the Three Happy Horses thought it would be a lark to go dance around the ol’ Maypole – failing to take into account that the only Maypole within galloping distance belonged to the Queen of the May, a Faerie who did not take kindly to trespassing quadrupeds.

[A trapdoor beside the pole lifts open, revealing an elf-eared Marion Hood, a crown woven of flowers on her head, and a frightful scowl upon her face.]

Marion/May Queen: The local horses better not get any bright ideas today, or so help them all. [retreats back beneath trapdoor ]

Robin/Narrator [as Allyn re-enters the stage ]: Happy Horse Pony was the first to arrive at the fairgrounds, and frolicked ‘round the Maypole with merry abandon.

Allyn/Pony [skipping in resigned circles ]: Tra-la-la, la-la…

Marion/May Queen [bursting from the trapdoor ]: Who dares frolic around my Maypole?!

Allyn/Pony [stopping short with a whinny of alarm ]: Oh, spare me, I pray thee!

Marion/May Queen: Spare you? Ha! Give me one good reason I shouldn’t enchant you into a marble statue for the town square.

Allyn/Pony: Good Queen of the May, if a worthy landmark you desire, only wait until my stablemate appears behind me, for he is far grander a stallion than I.

Marion/May Queen: Is that so? Well then, if he is willing to stand in your place, I shall have him. Await in stone until he arrives, for I’ll not be denied my due!

[Marion throws out a handful of sparkles, and Allyn poses statue-still, a Happy Horse rampant. She returns below the trapdoor as Will Scarlet prances back onstage.]

Robin/Narrator: Not long afterward, Happy Horse Stud entered the fairgrounds, and frolicked ‘round the Maypole with unbridled gaiety.

Will/Stud [capering dizzily ]: Yippee-ki-yay, mare-mounters!

Marion/May Queen [bursting from the trapdoor ]: Who dares frolic around my Maypole?!

Will/Stud [skidding to a stop with a whinny of alarm ]: Don’t be mad, babe – I can change!

Marion/May Queen: Change indeed! Give me one good reason I shouldn’t enchant you into a marble statue for the town square, in place of your pony friend here.

Will/Stud [only just noticing his frozen pal ]: Holy oats! Well, listen, Your Spring Queenliness, I’d make a gorgeous tourist attraction, sure. But if you really want to bring in the sightseers, just wait ‘til my stablemate appears behind me, ‘cause believe me, he’s just like whoa.

Marion/May Queen: Is that so? Well then, if he is willing to stand in your place, I shall have him. Await in stone until he arrives, for I’ll not be denied my due!

[Marion throws out a handful of sparkles, and Will poses statue-still, with a bicep flex and an unmoving wink the audience’s way. She returns below the trapdoor as Little John steps back onstage.]

Robin/Narrator: Now at last, the Happy Horse That Took Down Troy made his way to the fairgrounds, and he stared in some dismay at his petrified friends.

Little John/Trojan Horse: What the neigh?

Robin/Narrator: Thinking quickly, the Trojan Horse sprang into action – which is to say, he first stamped hard upon the ground beside the Maypole, and then stood entirely still.

Marion/May Queen [bursting from the trapdoor ]: Who dares stamp beside—?! [double take ] Oh, my. And who left this positively magnificent statue on my doorstep? Those two Happy Horses spoke true – surely I could have no finer piece of statuary than this. The others are free to go.

[With another handful of sparkles, Allyn and Will return to mobility. …As does, to Marion’s dramatized surprise, Little John.]

Little John/Trojan Horse: CHARGE!

Robin/Narrator: And with that, the Three Happy Horses stampeded the Queen of the May…

Marion/May Queen [falling through the trapdoor ]: Ai-yeeeeee!!!

Robin/Narrator [cont.]: …Who disappeared into the earth, never to be seen again.

Allyn/Pony: Huzzah!

Will/Stud: Good show, Troy! Now, what do you say we get back to our dance? All in favor?

Allyn/Pony and Little John/Trojan Horse [in adamant unison ]: Nay.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audiences members Miranda McNeff and Steven Bourelle,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘horses’ and ‘Maypole’.”

“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!”

“Panegyric” or “The End of Save-a-Word Saturday”

And now for the grand finale (yes, it’s true) of Save-a-Word Saturday! For any who need a reminder of/never knew what that means, here’s how it goes:

Save-a-Word Saturday

1) Create a post linking back to the hosts, The Feather and the Rose.

2) Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in the post. (If you find yourself in want of options, Feather ‘n’ Rose recommended a site that may have some word-lovers drooling. Luciferous Logolepsy. Even its name is old and delicious!)

3) Provide a definition of your word, and use it in a sentence/short paragraph/mini story vaguely related to the particular week’s chosen theme.

4) Sign up properly on the host post’s linky list so participants can easily find each other and share their logophilistic joy.

5) Be a hero by sharing these retro words with the world!

The final theme: Finale.

The word: “Panegyric”, a noun meaning “a lofty oration or writing in praise of a person or thing; a eulogy”.

The example:

Will Scarlet stares ahead, expression dazed, the threat of tears in his twitching eye. “I can’t believe it’s ending.”

“All things do,” Allyn replies, though not without sympathy. “But we’ve made a good show of it, have we not? Every week since the ninth of February – nine whole months of Saturdays out of the year-long existence of the blog hop – we’ve married archaic words with arbitrary themes whilst sharing small glimpses of our story-world that even devoted readers of our future ‘Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy would not otherwise have seen. That is a feat worth remembering with pride, and—”

“I don’t want to hear a panegyric, minstrel!” Will moans in frustration. “I don’t want to lay a lily on the grave of my beloved Save-a-Word Saturdays!”

“A rose, then?” Allyn suggests. “Perhaps a feather, as well?”

“I see what you did there. Seriously, though, we can’t let this end here. I need my Saturdays in the spotlight. More than that: My adoring fangirls need them!”

“But the event’s creators have declared this to be the finale.”

“Yeah, okay,” Will says, pacing back and forth as his mind’s mechanics pick up speed. “So we create a new event. One curtain falls, another rises. Our author’s still got a blog, and we’ve still got mad showmanship skillz. I’ve got it!” He snaps his fingers and spins around to point at Allyn. “Remember that thing we did, once? The ‘Peter and the Wolf’’ thing?”

An involuntary expression of pained horror crosses Allyn’s face. “You’re not suggesting a resurrection of ‘Will and Allyn’s Storytime Musical Theatre’, are you?”

“One better: ‘Will and Allyn’s Interactive Theatre’!”

“Wait—”

“Right, that’s the acronym. Just think of it!” Will spreads his hands before him, eyes dancing with a manic light. “Every Saturday, you and I and potentially other members of the Merry Men and the ‘Outlaws’ cast in general can do more or less as we’ve been doing all along, except instead of working with themes and ancient words, we’ll be working with suggestions from the audience!”

“What kind of suggestions?” Allyn asks uneasily.

Will Scarlet grins. “Anything they want. They can toss out words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything. We will ‘Yes, And’ the heck out of it like the professional improvisers we are, the audience will wet themselves laughing, and the public attention requirement for my fragile ego’s health will be met. Winning all around.”

“Well,” Allyn says, bracing for the inevitable, “I suppose if the readers would be interested…”

“Pfft, ‘suppose’. Why suppose anything when we can know for a fact? Go on, all you beautiful reader people.” Will gestures to the comment section below with a smile of anticipation. “Lay it on us: What do you want to see next?”