“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 Second Star to the Right’!”
[The curtain rises on a backdrop of twilight over a jewel-bright lagoon, the vaguely macabre shadow of a rock formation depicted in the distance. Prop trees and ferns suggestive of a jungle frame the stage on both ends, with our players entering stage right – Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter, and Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED following, body-switched, right behind.]
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: This place is lovely! But where exactly is it?
Will/Hatter: No idea, and no clue. But if the Shortcut to Everywhere brought us here, then Jack’s spirit must be, too.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [peering around, then pointing ]: The only thing obviously suggestive of death is that rocky place, out there. Or am I the only one who thinks it looks basically like a skull?
Voice from Stage Right: Of course it does.
[From the jungle greenery steps a “Stone Kingdom”-era Princess Rosalba of Denebdeor. She wears a fringed dress of sand-colored suede and colorful beadwork, her long hair hanging in a pair of braids before either shoulder and decorated with swan feathers. She bears a scepter-like spear.]
Rosalba [cont. ]: Why else would it bear the name “Skull Rock”?
Will/Hatter: Jack! Is it you?
[Will bounds across the stage, arms flung open for a hug, but an imperious thrust of Rosalba’s empty hand halts him.]
Rosalba: Another move toward me, strange hatted man, and my spear will know your innermost parts. I am Tiger Lily, Princess of Neverland. No one must ever touch me, on pain of death.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [with a gallant bow ]: Your Highness.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Neverland! Sure, I’ll buy that. It’s got fairies and Lost Boys, so why not a lost fairytale soul?
Will/Hatter: Not to mention the whole Peter Pan connection.
Rosalba/Tiger Lily [hand placed reverently to heart ]: Ah, brave Peter. Valiant Pan. He is the sun and the moon and the stars. But he has not been seen here for many a moon.
Will/Hatter: That’s all right. It’s not him we’ve come to see. We’re looking for his son, Jack Snow. Or rather, what’s left of him after the Antichristmas Wolf made off in his body. Could you tell us where to find him? We – and the North Pole – would be much in your debt.
Rosalba/Tiger Lily: The sun never says to the moon, “You owe me.” It is nothing for me to show you what you seek. He is there. [points with the spear to a diamond-bright light high on the sky backdrop ] The second evening star to the right.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: A noble place for so noble a spirit, to be sure. But we cannot afford to let him so remain. Have we your permission to bear him away to his destiny, Your Highness?
Rosalba/Tiger Lily: I rule the land, not the sky. Do what you must, if you can.
Will/Hatter [with a smile-like grimace ]: I can. But it’ll hurt. Apologies, Princess.
[With that, he taps Rosalba on the shoulder. Without hesitation, she rams her spear in and out of his middle. Annabelle and Sir Wilbur cringe, expressions nauseated, while Rosalba stalks away into the jungle with a highly offended air.]
Will/Hatter [voice a raspy grunt and pained giggle ]: Here we go again. [slumps to the ground, smoke billowing from his mouth ]
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: And here’s hoping this works. [turns to the sky, calling out ]
Star light, star bright, second star upon the right:
I wish you may, I wish you might take on the form left open wide.
[The star glows brighter by the moment, sending the smoke of the Shadow hastening away, lest it be by light destroyed. Annabelle and Sir Wilbur turn away from the glare, and just for a blink, the stage is too flooded with light to be seen. When it dims back to normal, the second star is gone, Will stirs on the ground, and Annabelle and Sir Wilbur startle back from one another.]
Annabelle: Hey! You’re you!
Sir Wilbur: As are you!
Will/Hatter [in as Jack Snow-like a voice as you can get without the speaker being actually Allyn-a-Dale ]: Consider that one a freebie for wishing me back to the land of the living. Tannenbaum, but my guts are sore.
Sir Wilbur [helping Will to his feet ]: Hatter’s body had to take a bit of punishment to make room for you.
Annabelle: And of course now his Shadow’s flown off who-knows-where.
Will/Jack: Worrying as that is, the matter will have to keep ‘til later. First things first: There’s Christmas to save.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience member Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘lovely’ and ‘the sun never says to the moon, “You owe me”’.”
“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!”