“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: ‘A Stitch in Time Slays Nine…give or take‘!”
[The curtain rises on Allyn-a-Dale and Will Scarlet, in their respective getups as Jack Snow, Child of Destiny, and his sworn protector, The Woodsman, as they approach a large set piece bearing a distinct resemblance to the Arch/Drum/Moon Bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Beyond it hangs a backdrop depicting a tall, dark castle looming in the foggy distance.]
Will/Woodsman: Nearly there, now. Just this bridge to cross, a hedge maze to navigate, probably a few deadly traps to maneuver, and then we can storm the Beast’s castle!
Allyn/Jack: Um, when did we decide it was a good idea to storm the Beast’s castle? Isn’t it dangerous?
Will/Woodsman: Oh, come, Jack – he’s the Antichristmas, remember? If you’re ever to fulfill your destiny as the chosen Santa Claus (as shockingly revealed in Act 3), you can’t spend the rest of your life hiding in the dwarves’ safe house. You’ve got to face your foe head-on! Besides, the closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm. It’s the last thing he’ll expect.
Allyn/Jack: You got that from a hobbit.
Will/Woodsman: Along with second breakfast, yes. Brilliant ideas all around.
[Just as the pair prepare to step foot upon the bridge, who should jump out from underneath but another pair – of trolls! Blue skin, lumpy false noses, tusks like a warthog’s, and all.]
Gawain/Troll 1: Halt! Who dares attempt to cross the great Beast’s bridge?
Allyn/Jack [glaring at The Woodsman ]: You didn’t mention the bridge was under guard.
Will/Woodsman: How was I to know the Beast can afford this kind of security? I’d have figured his troop of flying monkeys would clean out the budget.
Bedivere/Troll 2: He pays us in retired flying monkeys. They fry up real good. [mouth pulls into a suggestive leer ] Almost as good as humans.
Allyn/Jack: Mm-hmm. I don’t suppose there’s anything we have to offer that can persuade you to let us cross unmolested?
Gawain/Troll 1: Probably not.
Allyn/Jack: Then you leave me no choice.
[Reaching into his belt, Allyn removes a small handkerchief with a threaded needle run through it. One thumb and forefinger taking hold of the needle, he regards the trolls with a deadly serious expression.]
Allyn/Jack: You know Happy and Grumpy and Bashful and Doc, Sneezy and Sleepy, Dopey-as-a-Rock, but do you recall the most valiant little dwarf of all?
Bedivere/Troll 2 [shrugging ]: Rudolf?
Allyn/Jack: No. Tailor – the dwarf with the magic needle that can kill seven in one stitch!
Gawain/Troll 1 [in alarm ]: Seven what?
Allyn/Jack [with unwavering calm ]: What do you think?
[The trolls look at one another in unease.]
Allyn/Jack: One tug of this needle and thread, and you’re done for – along with five of your kin, somewhere. Now, I ask again: Might there be anything we have to offer that can persuade you to let us cross unmolested?
Bedivere/Troll 2: Erm, now that you mention it… perhaps our lives would do?
Allyn/Jack [nodding ]: An acceptable bargain. After you, Woodsman.
[The trolls vanish back under the bridge, and Will and Allyn climb toward the top of the prop bridge.]
Will/Woodsman: Very neatly handled, Jack Snow. Just maybe you’ve got the courage to storm the Beast’s castle after all, eh?
Allyn/Jack [glancing at the distant castle with misgiving ]: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and David Bunge,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘trolls’ and ‘tug’.”
“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!”