Jack and the Genre-nauts, Finale: I Saw Three Wishes Sailing In

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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 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.

Sundial

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!”

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like World’s End (Jack and the Genre-nauts Act 23)

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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 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: ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like World’s End’!”

<<<>>>

Best_Nature_www.laba.ws

[The curtain rises on a backdrop of fields of ice. A sign atop a candy-cane-striped post reads “North Pole, 0.5 miles”, pointing toward the copse of Christmas trees on the stage’s opposite side. Entering from the wings are Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki and Allyn-a-Dale as Fenrir, the Antichristmas Wolf in Jack Snow’s body.]

Lute/Loki [voice forbidding, smile stretched wide ]: Now’s the day, an’ now’s the hour;

See the Antichristmas lour,

And the Trickster’s rise to power:

Ragnarok unleashed!

Allyn/Fenrir: A stirring preamble, Father.

Lute/Loki: Like it? Modeled it after some poem or another by that Scot fellow, Burns.

Allyn/Fenrir [lips curled back in a wolfish grin ]: Fitting, that. For presently, this frozen world will blaze.

[Meanwhile, among the Christmas trees, out peek Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED, along with Will Scarlet as Jack Snow in the Mad Hatter’s body.]

Annabelle [stage whispering ]: This is it. The final boss battle. Sonic vs. Robotnik. Link vs. Demon Lord Ganon. Jack Snow vs. Antichristmas Beast/Wolf/son of Loki.

Will/Jack [turning to Annabelle in aggravation ]: What are you on about?

Annabelle [mumbling ]: Video game stuff. Sorry, I saw parallels.

Sir Wilbur: Never mind it, Jack. What’s the plan?

Will/Jack: Plan? I fear that’s a bit beyond me, at the moment. I’m Jack Snow in spirit, but Hatter in the head. What does his mad mind know of battle strategy?

Annabelle: Does this mean we’re screwed?

Sir Wilbur: It’s beginning to look like it. See there!

[The other side of the stage, Allyn has raised his arms high. Head thrown back, he speaks in a howling chant.]

Allyn/Fenrir: In the name of all evil things anti-Christmas,

I summon the fire of sky!

Flaming color, rain down ruin!

Raze and blaze, yon Northern Lights!

[A flickering green glow appears above, glowing redder the lower it descends. Lute’s cruel laugh has scarcely begun gaining momentum when Will plunges out of the trees, hand thrust up toward the lights.]

Will/Jack [rapidly, but with authority ]: Light of North’s nocturnal noon,

Ruin you shall not rain.

Heatless fire, arctic blaze,

In the sky remain.

[The reddening lights halt, then rise again, their harmless green hue returning.]

Allyn/Fenrir [with a snarling sneer ]: Counter rhymes, is it? That’s a game we could be at all day, Santa Claus. Unless you mean to sing my doom with carols as you did before?

Will/Jack: That depends. Would it work?

Lute/Loki [wagging a finger ]: Not so easy as that. Children of the Trickster were never fated to die the same way twice. It will take more than the power contained in a song to kill him. More than the power of Christmas itself!

Will/Jack [thoughtful, sober ]: Possibly so. But what of the power behind Christmas?

Allyn/Fenrir [eyes narrow ]: What do you mean?

Will/Jack [advancing ]: The first and greatest Christmas gift. A baby born to die. A saving sacrifice. This do I wield against you, Antichristmas: The sacrifice, made in the truest Christmas spirit, of Artifice Cheshirecott – a mad hatter who so loved his lost friend that he gave up his body to put an end to your wickedness one more time.

Allyn/Fenrir [ashen and wide-eyed ]: No… [clutches throat, choking and gagging ] Nooo…!

Lute/Loki: Fenrir! Son!

[But it’s too late. Allyn crumples to the ground, a thick haze of steam rising up around him. When the vapor clears, his body is gone. Dropping to his knees, Lute lets loose a shriek of anguish.]

Lute/Loki: A thousand curses upon you, Jack Snow! All I wanted for Christmas was vengeance! To destroy the legacy of the one who killed my son!

Will/Jack: Unfortunately, Loki, you’ve been a very naughty god this year. For that, you get the Shadow, black as coal. [arm raised skyward again, he calls out ]

Shadow of the hatter mad,

Fly to finish to Fenrir’s dad!

[A formless darkness with manic, cat-like eyes and a wide, crescent moon grin flits over the white backdrop.]

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Ah, looky – it’s Loki! My own match in mischief! Now, what’s to be done about you?

Annabelle [stepping out of the trees with a noisy “ahem” ]: If it’s all the same to everyone else, I may have a solution.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Kelton de la Cruz and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Demon Lord Ganon’ and lyrics from “Scots Wha Hae’ by Robert Burns.”

“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!”

To Hel in a Handbasket (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 21)

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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 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: ‘To Hel in a Handbasket’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the TARDIS interior set. Will Scarlet as a grim, Doctor-guised Mad Hatter fiddles with the controls at the console, with Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED standing, body-switched, at his side.]

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: So Loki announces that he and Fenrir the Antichristmas Wolf are gonna kick off Ragnarok, and you tell us to retreat?

Will/Hatter Doctor [jaw tight ]: Nothing for it. Our past selves were due to reach the top of Mount Atlas at any moment. If we’d been caught loitering there when we did, it would have thrown all of time into a paradox that would make Ragnarok look like the end of the world as the ancient Norse know it.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Um, yes. That’s what it is.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Nope. It’s the end of Christmas. And that is far worse.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Okay, so what are doing to stop it? Still fishing around in the past for someone to stop you from getting shot in Steampunk Sherwood, or what?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [shaking Annabelle’s head ]: I fear that would do little good. Loki seemed to have all too clear a view of the big picture across time. He manipulated us all into doing as he wished before. He could do it again, rerouting any course we took to bring us right back around to where we started.

Will/Hatter Doctor: Too right, knight. There’s no going back, now – only forward. We’ve got to get to the North Pole ahead of father and wolf. And we’ve got to get its chosen Santa Claus back.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: That won’t be easy if Hel’s got him.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [surprised ]: I’d gotten the impression his immortal soul was in a holier state than that.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Mythology, Wilbur. Hel is the Norse goddess of the dead.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [brightening ]: Oh.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: She’s also Loki’s daughter.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [moaning ]: Oh.

Hel as depicted by Agnes Olsen via Elfwood.com - http://www.elfwood.com/u/aolson/image/23ae1c50-23ea-11e4-a923-7d0aeb3f012b/hel-also-known-as-hela-norse-goddess-of-the-dead
Hel as depicted by Agnes Olsen via Elfwood.com – http://www.elfwood.com/u/aolson/image/23ae1c50-23ea-11e4-a923-7d0aeb3f012b/hel-also-known-as-hela-norse-goddess-of-the-dead

Will/Hatter Doctor: Nobody freak out. I’ve got a plan.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [wincing ]: If you don’t want us freaking out, “I’ve got a plan” is really not the thing for you to say, Hatter.

Will/Hatter Doctor: No, really. Step one: I go to the land of the dead. Step two: I have a panic attack, because HELLO, land of the dead! Yikes! Step three: The crisis releases my Shadow, leaving my body wide open for possession. Step four: Jack Snow rides me out of the underworld and to the North Pole, where the wedding of his Christmas spirit and my good looks will beat back Ragnarok, and – callooh, callay! – Christmas will be merry as a Brandybuck.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: What about Hel?

Will/Hatter Doctor: What about her? She only rules the Norse mythological underworld. Jack Snow’s life isn’t mythological – it’s a fairytale. That means his death will be, too.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: All right, then. Story expert – [turns to Annabelle in his body ] –where do dead fairytale characters go?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Oh, heck, they could end up anywhere, or hang around in any form. Plants. Animals. Just plain ghosts. If his body weren’t currently alive and in the Antichristmas’s possession, it would be par for the course for his decapitated head or bones to start talking to us in riddles. I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for him.

Will/Hatter Doctor: So we don’t look. We just find him.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [glaring ]: Does your madness provide a method for that?

Will/Hatter Doctor: OH, yes! [cranks a lever on the console ] Next stop: The Shortcut to Everywhere!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘a wedding’ and ‘Brandybuck’.”

“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!”

From Bad to Norse (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 20)

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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 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: ‘From Bad to Norse’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on the top of the mountain set, where stands Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki, masses of clouds heaped like haystacks around him, his shoulders casually bearing the weighted curtain of the sky.]

Lute/Loki: La-di-dum. Ten minutes more of waiting, and my replacement shall arrive.

[At that moment, with a noise like a straining mechanical elephant – or however the Doctor Who fans in the house would describe it – one of the cloud stacks spins around, revealing the blue police box shape of the time/space-traveling TARDIS. Out the door step Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter in his Doctor getup, author Annabelle Gray from INSPIRED in the body of her character, Sir Wilbur Lamb, and Sir Wilbur in the body of Annabelle.]

Lute/Loki [brows raised ]: You’re early.

Will/Hatter Doctor: A Time Lord is never early, Loki, nor is he late. He arrives precisely when he means to. More or less. Depends how well he input the coordinates, and the TARDIS’s level of cooperation, phases of the universe’s various moons…

Lute/Loki: “Loki”, is it? Not “Atlas”? So, you’re from the future. [unperturbed grin ] Just how far ahead have you seen?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: We stepped back in time about when we realized Jack Snow’s spirit is in some realm of the dead, with his body bearing the Antichristmas Beast toward the probable ruination of Christmas.

Lute/Loki [grin widening ]: My, oh, my. And what brings you back here?

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: We need someone to go the point just before the Antichristmas Beast shoots Hatter and forestall its happening, thereby preventing the release of Hatter’s Shadow and the body-switching disaster it caused.

Lute/Loki: And you come in the hope that this needed someone is me? That I shall abandon all to play fairy godmother by setting right your wrongs? Why in the world would I do that?

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Well, you helped us before. …or, erm, will help us later.

Lute/Loki [amused ]: Help you? By shooting down the Antichristmas’s airship before he can kill you? Or do you refer to when I release Hatter from his entrapment under the sky? Odd that you should call that help, when it all leads to the very event you wish me to counteract.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [frowning ]: Are we then to understand that you wished for this to happen?

Lute/Loki: Mortals understand the ways of a god? I’ve no expectation of that. But yes, this is all of my deliberate doing.

Will/Hatter Doctor [expression pained ]: But why? Why would you kill Jack?

Lute/Loki: You killed Jack, Wonderlander, because you are mad. And I wielded that madness because we had need of it.

Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: “We”?

Lute/Loki [casting the sky from his shoulders ]: The revolutionaries! The ushers of the end times! The great Antichristmas Wolf and I!

Will/Hatter Doctor: Wait – Antichristmas Wolf? Look who’s talking madness now. What kind of wolf has horns?

Lute/Loki [smiling terribly ]: The kind that’s the child of a god.

Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [with a gasp ]: The wolf son of Loki. That would make the Antichristmas Beast—

Lute/Loki [exultant ]: The mighty Fenrir. And together, we shall bring Ragnarok to the North Pole.

Awwwww, snap… (Depiction of Fenrir shared via Hallowing on deviantART - http://hallowing.deviantart.com/art/Fenrir-Concept-3-205812474
Awwwww, snap… (Depiction of Fenrir shared via Hallowing on deviantART)

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Kelton de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘fairy godmother’ and ‘revolutionaries’.”

“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!”

When Deus Met Machina (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 14)

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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 second 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: ‘When Deus Met Machina’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on an airship hanging over the stage. A motorized backdrop provides the illusion of a passing sky. Little John as the Antichristmas Beast paces the gondola, giving the vessel the once-over. At the ship’s wheel stand Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED. Acting as the ship’s aviatrix, Annabelle wears a damsel gown accented with a cool leather corset, the veil hanging back over her curls held in place with some sweet goggles, while Wilbur’s in his usual knightly ensemble supplemented with a smart bowler hat.]

Credit to http://www.artsmithcraftworks.com/airship-anastasia/smallairship-087/
Credit to http://www.artsmithcraftworks.com/airship-anastasia/smallairship-087/

Little John/Beast: The Sheriff of Steampunk Nottingham, hmm?

Annabelle: Yup! I think you’ll like it here. Thanks to Robin Hood ‘n’ ‘em, you’ll still get to harass a team of heroes, but there’s plenty of room for you to make the story your own. Plus, we’ve got an airship! Boo-ya!

Sir Wilbur: How much farther to Nottingham castle?

Annabelle: Not far at all, once we’ve cleared Sherwood Forest. After that, Beastie, I’ll leave you to write your own adventure. Wilbur and I need to get back to the Genre-nauts.

Little John/Beast: Return to my enemy? Why would I allow you to do that?

Annabelle [frowning ]: Um, because we made a deal?

Little John/Beast: A deal to show you out of the Labyrinth in exchange for my story. You’re out, and I’m here. I owe you nothing more. And if I let you go, who’s to say you won’t team up with Jack Snow to defeat me?

Annabelle: I could say I won’t. Wilbur could corroborate it. And what with him being a man of his word, and me being a smith of mine, that ought to be enough to set your mind at ease.

Little John/Beast: Killing you would be simpler.

Sir Wilbur [placing himself between Annabelle and Little John, hand on the hilt of his sword ]: Would it indeed?

Little John/Beast [drawing a pistol from beneath his cloak ]: We’ll find out shortly.

Annabelle: WHOA! No shooting people! I will turn this ship around, bucko!

[Sir Wilbur spins around and knocks Annabelle to the gondola floor a split second before a bullet whizzes through the air. Rolling up into a crouch, he then lunges at Little John’s knees, taking him down, while another shot flies wild. They’re on the verge of a serious grappling match when Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki in jester’s motley appears on the ship’s rail.]

Lute/Loki: I say! What’s all the hullaballoo?

Little John/Beast [looking up with a snarl from where he and Wilbur are locked in some wrestler’s hold ]: Who are you, and why are you on my ship?

Lute/Loki [with a bow ]: Loki the Trickster, milord Sherriff – your personal fool, courtesy of the author.

Annabelle [looking in confusion at the audience ]: I never wrote that. Pfft, characters with minds of their own, am I right?

Little John/Beast: A fool, hmm? Well, we’ll discuss how you can entertain me after I’ve done away with the girl and her knight.

Lute/Loki [cheerfully ]: That may be a discussion a long time coming, your lordship. There’s the small matter of the crash to get through, first. [picking up the fallen pistol, he raises it over his head and shoots the ship’s gas bag; with a jolt, the vessel tips steeply downward, wind machines from below creating the effect of a speedy fall ] We seem to be losing altitude fast.

Sir Wilbur: Annabelle, the wheel! You’ve got to guide our descent!

Annabelle [panicking ]: How the heck am I supposed to do that?!

Little John/Beast: Come on, don’t say you don’t know how! You were flying this thing just a minute ago!

Annabelle: Flying is easy! Landing is hard – especially when we’re losing all our gas through a bullet hole!

Lute/Loki [laughing ]: Looks like you were right, Antichristmas: Killing is simple!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Chelsea de la Cruz and Kelton de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘hullaballoo’ and ‘flying is easy, landing is hard’.”

“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!”

Not Your Queen Victoria’s Steampunk (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 13)

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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 second 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: ‘Not Your Queen Victoria’s Steampunk’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises a on a dimly-lit cave set, Allyn-a-Dale as Jack Snow and a jester-esquely attired Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki therein.]

Allyn/Jack: Loki! Where am I?

Lute/Loki: You’re the one who stepped through the Shortcut to Everywhere. You tell me: Where did you mean to go?

Allyn/Jack: I had no clear location in mind. Only wherever the Mad Hatter was.

Lute/Loki [hand clasped to heart ]: Wouldn’t he be touched to know you’ve missed him so much! And after he’d come to wonder whether you’d ever go back for him under the sky on Mount Atlas, too.

Allyn/Jack [dismayed ]: Don’t tell me he’s still stuck under there?!

Lute/Loki: No, not anymore, though no thanks to you. I’ve freed him and brought him here.

Allyn/Jack: Well, unless “here” is where we’ll find the Antichristmas Beast, we need to go. He’s got Annabelle and Wilbur, and without my singing sword, I’m not sure how we’re to beat him. I need Hatter’s mad genius to work out a way.

Will/Hatter [coming around the corner with some sort of bundle in his arms ]: One step ahead of you, Jack! [squinting ] If that’s Jack. Who can see well enough to tell? Why are we standing around in the dark, people? [flicks a switch on the wall, thus significantly brightening the cave ] Boo-ya! Steam-powered lightbulbs for the win!

Steampunk Lightbulb Pendant credited to Dreampop on Etsy
Steampunk Lightbulb Pendant credited to Dreampop on Etsy

Allyn/Jack: Steam power. Does that mean— [yet another lightbulb flickers on directly over his head ] They’re here, aren’t they? The Beast and the others, they took the Shortcut to Everywhere here, and you’ve been here waiting for them.

Will/Hatter: Only for ages! Thank nonsense you’re here and we can finally get moving. I’ve been insufferably bored. Here – [passes bundle to Allyn ] – put this on.

Allyn/Jack: But God rest ye merry, how did you know??

Lute/Loki: Come now, give me some credit. I’m not just a trickster. I’m also a god. That does come with some measure of omniscience. I’ve told Hatter all about the situation – including where to find your friends and enemy.

Allyn/Jack: Well, good! I— [stops short upon getting a better look at the bundle he’s been given; holds out a pair blue-green hose and bright-buckled jerkin ] What’s all this? Hardly the Victorian-era garb I’d expected.

Lute/Loki: Tut, don’t be narrow-minded, Jack. Steampunk can happen anywhere, and anytime! Medieval Sherwood, for instance.

Allyn/Jack: Sherwood?

Will/Hatter [grinning ]: That’s right, Jack. [trades out signature Mad Hatter hat for a pointed leather cap, its bold red feather affixed with a gear-shaped pin ] Time to rob from the Beast and give to the bored.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘lightbulbs’ and ‘bored’.”

“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!”

Tale as Old as Tale-Telling (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 11)

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 second 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: ‘Tale as Old as Tale-Telling’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter, lying prone beneath the weighted sky curtain atop the mountain set.]

Will/Hatter [tragically ]: Three acts gone by since I blundered into this position, and no sign of a rescue from Jack Snow and company! Have they all forgotten me? Have they even noticed I’m gone? [dejected sigh ] Am I so easily replaceable that they can’t tell me from a Norse trickster god?

[Speak of the trickster, who should appear from around the sky curtain but Gant-o’-the-Lute, portrayer of Loki.]

Lute/Loki: Less replaceable than you are easily parodied. But how now? [crouches down to something nearer Will’s level ] Still here, Hatter? And doing none too professional a job, either. We’re getting complaints below about the sagging state of the sky.

Will/Hatter: You! Insolent imp, how dare you lead my friends into the Labyrinth without me? Who knows what horrible things they’ll be forced to contend with! Traps! Monsters! Demented knife-wielding lemurs! [struggles beneath the sky curtain ] They’ll be having all the fun! Let me out! Out, I say!

Demented knife-wielding lemurs. They’re not only a thing; they’re a T-shirt. http://sebreg.deviantart.com/art/Knife-Wielding-Lemur-Tshirt-192915951
Demented knife-wielding lemurs. They’re not only a thing; they’re a T-shirt. http://sebreg.deviantart.com/art/Knife-Wielding-Lemur-Tshirt-192915951

Lute/Loki [patting Will’s cheek ]: Keep your hat on, Wonderlander. They’ve encountered no lemurs, last I looked. [unnerving chuckles ] Just run into an old friend from Fairytale Forest.

Will/Hatter: Oh? Who? That heartbreakingly handsome Woodsman?

Lute/Loki: One better: The Antichristmas Beast.

Will/Hatter: Really? I’d gotten the impression he was the farthest thing from any friend of Jack’s. Not to mention dead. What’s he doing in the Labyrinth?

Lute/Loki [grinning ]: Bargaining for Annabelle.

Will/Hatter [head cocked in puzzlement ]: What would the Beast want with—? Wait. Don’t tell me. He needs her love to break a curse, right?

Lute/Loki: Close, quite close. A tale not old as time, but old as tale-telling. Think, Hatter. What is Annabelle?

Will/Hatter: Single black female in her latter teens; likes fictional hotties and long walks in her imagination. I should ask her out for tea.

Lute/Loki [eyes rolling ]: An author, Hatter. Annabelle is an author. And if you were a character killed off from your tale, what would you want an author for?

Will/Hatter: The prestige. Emotional eating. Tax breaks.

Lute/Loki: You make no sense at all.

Will/Hatter: Hold on, you’ll break my chain of thought. Algebra. The lobster quadrille. A story! He’d want another story!

Lute/Loki: Precisely. Once they leave that Labyrinth, bookish beauty and beast will be off to lands uncharted, plots unplanned, fates unknown. He may actually make it out alive, this time. She may not.

Will/Hatter: Why tell me any of this? I’m trapped helpless beneath the sky. *cough* Thanks to you. *cough*

Lute/Loki: No. [lifts the sky curtain with one hand, pulls Will up to his feet with the other ] You’re coming with me.

Will/Hatter [compliant ]: Brilliant! [contrary ] Like Tulgey Wood I am! [curious ] Coming where?

Lute/Loki [eyes shining ]: To head them off at the pass.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Tirzah Duncan and Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘demented knife-wielding lemurs’ and ‘The Prestige’.”

“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!”