“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every second Friday,” 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 the long awaited/despaired-of-ever-happening ‘Jack and the Genre-nauts’ finale: ‘I Saw Three Wishes Sailing In’!”
[The curtain rises on a forest of Christmas trees before an icy background, faux snow glittering on the floor. Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED stand over the dejectedly-kneeling Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki. Will Scarlet as Jack Snow in the Mad Hatter’s body also stands by, while Hatter’s grinning Shadow dances over the backdrop.]
Sir Wilbur: Well, Annabelle? What do you propose we do with our vanquished Trickster?
Annabelle: That depends. Do we have a way to make sure the Shadow does as we wish instead of running mad?
Will [voiceover]/Shadow [turning somersaults, laughing like a loon ]: Madness-made is what I am! Control the likes of me? Why, you’d just as easy turn back time itself!
Will/Jack: Spoken like a Wonderland riddle. And this body I’m in has a Wonderland mind. A reflective surface, someone – quickly!
Annabelle: Something like this?
[From behind her back, she hefts the mirror taken from the Sheriff’s castle in Steampunk Nottingham.]
Lute/Loki [his crestfallen scowl gone baffled ]: Where have you been carrying that thing, all this time?
Annabelle: In my back pocket. It’s important to dress comfortably when traveling between imaginary realms; my go-to is jeans made of stretch-credulity denim. But is a mirror really the best plan, Jack? If the Shadow catches sight of his reflection, he’ll return to his host, and there may not be room inside Hatter’s body for his spirit and yours.
Will/Jack [straightening from having sketched a sundial in the snow beneath the Shadow ]: Aim not for the Shadow, but downward. What there do you see?
Sir Wilbur: The shadow of a shadow, circling clockwise.
Will/Jack [triumphant ]: And in the mirror, counterclockwise! A widdershins shadow is time turned backward. Shadow of Hatter, you’re now in our power.
Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Well, tweedle-dee-dee, you’re too clever for me. How would you command me, masters?
Annabelle: Gone genie on us, have you? Excellent. Wish one: Bind Loki to my mind, making me his author, and him my character.
Will [voiceover]/Shadow [giggling ]: Granted!
Lute/Loki [shooting to his feet ]: WHAT! How dare you?! I am a god!
Sir Wilbur: And as fictional gods go, you wouldn’t be her first. We’ll introduce you to the abishan, sometime.
Lute/Loki [teeth grinding ]: Why would you do this to me? After all else of which you’ve robbed me, why my freedom, too?
Annabelle: Oh, hush, it’s not as bad as all that. My characters get plenty long leashes, believe me. But keeping you tethered to a proper story, as opposed to this nonsense we’ve been living for twenty-some acts, will guard against your mischief taking down too many worlds. You want Ragnarok? Fine. But contained in a book. [smiling kindly ] I’ll even be sure to work in Fenrir. You’ll get your son, and he’ll get his story, just like I promised him.
Lute/Loki [anger cooling ]: Well. If I am to be your prisoner, I suppose it could be under worse conditions. Very well, author. I am yours. [smirking ] Good luck to your plots, having to keep pace with me.
Will/Jack [stage-muttering ]: If Danielle could handle Austeryn in “Surrogate Sea”, I’m sure Annabelle will get by. [“aloud” ] Now, Shadow, for a second wish: Return to us my rightful body, and set my spirit within it.
Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Granted!
[The Shadow spins in a cyclone of smoke, and when the obscuring darkness clears, Will Scarlet has fallen to the floor, but there stands Allyn-a-Dale.]
Sir Wilbur: Jack! You’re really back!
Allyn/Jack: That I am, and of it glad! A body’s a body, more or less, but how I’ve missed my mind. I don’t know how Hatter lives with himself.
Annabelle: That’s the wonder of a man of Wonderland. Speaking of, time for wish number three. [holds mirror higher ] Hey, Shadow! Look here!
[With a squeal of delight at the sight of its own self, the Shadow flies right into the glass. No sooner has it disappeared and Annabelle set it down, propped up against a tree, than Will Scarlet jumps up from the floor.]
Will/Hatter: End of the line!
Everyone else: Huh??
Will/Hatter [arms spread wide ]: We’re here, Jack: The Fairytale Forest’s North Pole. I told you I’d get you back home!
Allyn/Jack: Why… so you did. And so you have. Not the route I’d have taken, but nevertheless. Thank you, Artifice Cheshirecott.
Will/Hatter [bowing with a sweep of the hat ]: More than welcome, Jack Snow. Now, I’m bound for Wonderland, a big bowl of homemade ice cream, and a nice long nap. All very fun to play the travel guide, but real talk: Keeping you kids entertained on the road is exhausting. So long, everyone! Watch out for rabbit holes!
[With that and a wink, he steps through the looking glass and is gone.]
[The curtain falls.]
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘homemade ice cream’ and ‘widdershins’.”
“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!”