“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every Saturday,” 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: ‘Locked, Stocked, and Barreling On’!”
[The curtain rises on a backdrop painted to look like a Nottinghamshire street of Avalon Faire. Prominently placed onstage, a set of medieval stocks hold Will Scarlet’s head and hands captive. His expression? Grimly amused. Enter Allyn-a-Dale, in full minstrel regalia, stage right.]
Allyn: There you are, Will. I’ve been looking all over. The gates open in ten minutes. I thought you wanted us to wave at the patrons as they come in.
Will: Yes, that was the plan.
Allyn: Then what are you fooling around here, for?
Will: This is not me fooling around. This is me being punished for fooling around. [sniggers] Merlin finally saw his sock drawer.
Allyn: I told you to stay out of his bedroom!
Will: I did stay out! It was actually phenomenally clever, the way I rigged the whole thing up from the doorway. But cleverness gets you no positive reinforcement, ‘round here; it only necessitates more. Merlin says I can get out of this just as soon as I can figure out how. ‘Til then, I’m stuck.
Allyn: And out in full view, too. I expect the crowds will see it as an open invitation to fling rotten vegetables at you.
Will [with a bark of laughter]: They’ll have a hard time of it. One, I don’t mean to be here when those gates open. Two, this is Avalon, the Undying Isle. Our produce never rots. What comes of sprinkling the vegetable gardens with fairy dust, or however they do it.
Allyn [leaning against the stocks’ wooden frame, arms casually crossed]: How do you intend to escape?
Will: Plan A: You will break me out.
Allyn: I don’t have the key.
Will: Pick the lock.
Allyn: I don’t know how.
Will: Oh, for pity’s sake, what kind of thief are you? Fetch Little John. He can do it.
Allyn: Can, yes. But probably won’t. Yesterday, and all that.
Will: Mmm, right, yesterday… [chuckles] Hilarious, that. What about Marion?
Allyn: She hasn’t the time. She’s got the dances and games at the maypole to lead, first thing.
Will: Right. Blast. [jerks his hand as if he means to reflexively rake back his hair; grunts in frustration when he can’t reach nearly that far] All right. Eight minutes. New plan: Behead me.
Allyn [startles back]: Are you mad?!
Will: [just looks at Allyn, eyebrow raised]
Allyn: All right, stupid question, everyone knows you’re mad. But how will killing you put you in a better position than this?
Will: Step one: Cut off my head and hands. Step two: Put them back in place. Step three: Wait for an Avalon miracle. …hopefully not for longer than seven minutes. It’s foolproof!
Allyn: Foolproof… Wait.
[From above, a light bulb descends on a wire to hover just over Allyn’s head, blinking on as his expression takes on a decidedly “aha!” quality.]
Allyn: Will, if a wizard entraps you for being a fool, what’s the surest way out?
Will: Does it involve a blowtorch?
Allyn: And that’s why you’re still trapped. Stop thinking up ever more ridiculous ideas. Think of something sensible.
Will: Sensible? Like what?
Allyn [shaking his head]: I don’t think it will work if I plant the idea for you. You’ve got to grow it on your own.
Will: Okaaay… Sensible. A sensible way out. [eyes closed, brows drawn down, he spends some time mumbling to himself before the light bulb glides over to hang above his head] I’ve got it!
Allyn: A sensible idea?
Will: One better: A brilliant idea!
Allyn [face falling]: Define “brilliant”.
Will: Run and fetch some vegetables. And when those gates open, spread the word among patrons and players alike that Will Scarlet has been captured by the Sheriff of this town, and it falls to the Merry Men to save him in their usual grand style. I’m getting out of here eventually, Allyn-a-Dale, and we’re going to give the people a show right up until sweet freedom is mine!
Allyn: Not the quickest way out.
Will [grinning]: But the most entertaining way. Now make haste, minstrel! Five minutes ‘til Opening Gate!
Allyn [patting Will’s head]: Never sensible. But always phenomenally clever.
[Allyn exits the stage at a swift run, leaving Will whistling cheerily in his prison turned golden opportunity.]
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Laure Estep and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘flinging vegetables’ and ‘fairy dust’”
“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! Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”