If You’re Desperate and You Know It (Scarlet’s Fairytale Spin, Act 12)

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“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: ‘If You’re Desperate and You Know It’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the set of a nighttime field under a cloudy sky. Wendy Darling-Pan, the enchanted purple rose as voiced by Marion Hood, is planted in a plot of earth, center stage, while beside her, posed in a tableau of surprise, are Allyn-a-Dale as her son, Jack Snow, and Will Scarlet as her semi-estranged husband, Peter “The Woodsman” Pan. All easy British charm, Robin Hood stands opposite. All players who are not a flower turn to address the audience.]

Will/Woodsman: Okay, so hold the phone. Previously in this serial fairytale skit, Jack Snow and I were just about to free my beloved Wendy from her rose enchantment, when who should stroll into the clearing but Benedict freaking Cumberbatch!

Robin/Cumberbatch: Little do they suspect [with a wink ], I’m actually a winged monkey in league with their archenemy, ingeniously disguised with magical trousers it amuses me to think of as “Cumberbritches”.

Allyn/Jack: Meanwhile, the fourth wall appears to have been demolished beyond all repair.

Will/Woodsman: Dar-har. But seriously – back to full story immersion. [turns to Robin ] Benedict, what in the world are you doing here??

Robin/Cumberbatch [moving nonchalantly nearer the group ]: Oh, you know, just passing through, on my way to important, international household name actor things. [smile of endearing self-deprecation ] I do hope I’m not interrupting anything.

Marion/Wendy: Nothing major. Our boy Jack, here, was about to sing up some fireflies to make constellations for us.

Robin/Cumberbatch [with apparent polite interest ]: Is that right? Well, please, no need to stop on my account. Go right on and— [points behind Will and Allyn ] I say, what’s that?

[Will and Allyn’s head and the rose’s blossom turn, seeing nothing, for there’s nothing to see. While they’re still peering into the dimmer corners of the stage and being all, “What? What?” Robin cups his hand behind his mouth and bares his teeth a bit. Lips unmoving, he calls out so that his winged monkey screech seems to come from offstage.]

Marion/Wendy: The Beast’s flying monkey minions!

Will/Woodsman: Blast it all, we can’t let them spoil our spell-breaking ritual! [draws sword ] Stay here, Jack. Get those fireflies and deflower your mother.

Allyn/Jack [pulling a face at the choice of words, but letting it pass in favor of more important matters ]: You’re going to face the monkeys? One man against who knows how many of them?

Will/Woodsman [grimly ]: I only need to hold them long enough for you and Wendy to get away – free, clear, and both human. I don’t know, maybe Cumberbatch can lend a hand. Benny, what do you say to—

[Marion’s earsplitting scream cuts Will off as Robin yanks the enchanted rose out of the ground. The lights go crazy, flashing bright and black, interspersed with epic stroke-inducing strobes. When the lighting settles back down to normal, the rose is gone, and Marion lies gasping on the stage in a pool of blood. With a cry of “MOTHER!” fit to rend your heart, Allyn throws himself to his knees at her side, while Will, sword forgotten, seizes Robin by his shirt front and shakes him.]

Will/Woodsman: What have you done, you psychopath?!

Robin/Cumberbatch: I—

Will/Woodsman: Say a word about actually being a high-functioning sociopath, and I swear I’ll hack you to pieces. Why, Benny?! [voice breaks in an agony of grief ] Why?!

Robin/Cumberbatch: I wasn’t trying to kill her, I swear! I was just going to run off with her, back to the Beast. I didn’t know— [gulps ] Look, murder’s not in my job description, okay? I’m just a deliveryman. …Well, deliverymonkey, without my pants.

Allyn/Jack: Woodsman, help! She’s losing too much blood. She’s gone white as a beluga. What can we do?

Will/Woodsman: I don’t bloody well know! Unless… Clap.

Allyn/Jack: What?

Will/Woodsman: Clap, I say! Hard and fast and enthusiastic as you can. Clap with everything you’ve got! You, too, Benedict Arnold. [releases Robin, but draws a knife ] Clap or die. And you! [turns to the audience again, eyes begging ] Please, I don’t care who looks at you funny for applauding your laptop. Clap, clap, clap!

[Exchanging looks of confusion, Allyn and Robin applaud like this is the serial skit’s grand finale. Will, unable to hold a weapon and clap at the same time, turns his gaze toward the cloudy heavens.]

Will/Woodsman: I do believe in Wendy! I do, I do! I do believe in Wendy! I do! I do!

[With a burst of thunder, the artificial clouds pour rain, drenching the spot where Allyn huddles over Marion, and washing the blood away into the plot of earth. As the downpour lightens, Marion’s eyes flutter open, and she half-sits up.]

Marion/Wendy: I’m all right. [hugs Allyn tight, looks over his shoulder at Will ] By the quick-thought-up miracles that follow you wherever you go, Peter Pan, I’m all right.

Will/Woodsman [visibly dizzy with relief ]: Thank all goodness. But now… [recovers himself and holds his knife to Robin’s throat ] What’s to be done with this one?

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Steven Bourelle and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘ventriloquism’ and ‘beluga’.”

“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!”

“Now, before we go,” says Allyn, “hearty congratulations to Miranda McNeff, winner of the signed Emmelea bookmark in this week’s ‘Song Caster’ mini-giveaway!”

“Way to go, Miranda!” Will cheers. “And keep your eyes open, everyone, for further opportunities to win stuff as we near June 24th, launch day for ‘The Song Caster (Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales)’. ‘Til next time, friends:  Will and Allyn out!”

In Which Will Takes a Few Tales for a Spin

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“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: ‘Spinning Straw to Scarlet-Gold’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a spotlit Will Scarlet reclining on a couch, a colorful little paperback in hand. From behind the couch, Allyn-a-Dale pops up and leans over to read over Will’s shoulder.]

Allyn: “The Seventh Spell”, is it? Did our author put you up to that?

Will: Believe it not, Allyn, I am just barely enough of an intellectual that I do sometimes enjoy reading for my own pleasure. …Or when I’m scrambling for inspiration for an Interactive Theatre skit. How would you feel about putting together a fairytale mash-up?

Allyn: Which tales do you mean to combine?

Will [shooting upright ]: All of them!

Allyn: All?!

Will: Well, a lot of them, anyway. How hard can it be? [waves “The Seventh Spell” ] Danielle managed it, didn’t she? And she’s not half as clever as we are! Here, picture this: It all starts with a woman who lives next door to a dangerous neighbor…

[Further across the stage, a light goes up on Marion crouched in a set decked out with topsoil, rows of little plants climbing up stakes, and other such touches evocative of a vegetable garden. Her attention on stuffing produce into the oversized pockets of her cardigan sweater, she doesn’t appear to notice Little John, entering from the wings in an alarming getup of fur and horns, until his shadow falls across her.]

Little John/Beast [growling ]: Who dares steal from my garden?

[Marion jumps up with a startled cry, clutching what gives the appearance of a several-months’-pregnant belly.]

Marion/Woman: Mercy, fearsome beast! I’ve just had this insane craving for zucchini for weeks, and—

Allyn: Wait. Zucchini?

Will: Yup. ‘Cause, it being the Beast’s garden, you’d think it would be a rose, or her being an expectant mother, you’d think it would be some Rapunzel-ish salad greens. But nope, it’s zucchini. Plot twist!

Allyn: That’s not much of a plot twist.

Will: Well, you can’t say you saw it coming! So anyway, the woman and Beast come to an agreement, neither party suspecting that the other’s got a trick up their sleeve.

Little John/Beast [aside to the audience ]: That foolish woman thinks she’s got a hope of winning her child back from me. Little does she know, my game’s conditions are impossible. No mortal creature has ever guessed my name!

Marion/Woman [aside to the audience ]: If that beast thinks I’m sticking around to play his stupid game, he’s got another think coming. Zucchini’s not the only little treasure I’ve stolen from his garden. [raises a small, round object to shine in the light ] With this magic bean, my child and I shall escape to the cloudlands, beyond his reach forever!

[The light over the garden goes dark.]

Allyn [eyebrows raised in interest ]: All right, now this is beginning to sound interesting. What happens next?

Will: Well, the woman makes her escape up the beanstalk, and in due time, the child is born. Unfortunately, her sanctuary isn’t as safe as supposed.

[The darkened light returns, the garden scene replaced with a white fluffy rug and a backdrop of endless sky blue. The flurry of flapping wings and inhuman screeches fill the sound system.]

Marion/Woman [clutching the infant-shaped bundle swaddled in her sweater ]: Oh, no! The beast has found us out, and sent his gang of flying monkey hit men to claim my baby! I must smuggle my dear one out of the country. But how?!

[The light and sound of the cloudlands set dims.]

Will: Hmm, how indeed? I’m torn. Should she entrust her baby to the keeping of the fairies of Neverland, or hide him in a basket and hope Red Riding Hood doesn’t get stopped by the wolves of the border patrol?

Allyn: It sounds like you need more time to get your plot sorted out, Will.

Will: Meh. Maybe. I’m onto something though, right? Look out, Wilderhark Tales?

Allyn [smiling ]: You know I’ll never vote against Wilderhark while Father’s there. But stay inspired, Will. There may yet be some gold to be spun from your grasped-at straws.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Tirzah Duncan and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘a sweater’ and ‘zucchini’.”

“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!”