In Which Will Takes a Few Tales for a Spin

W.A.I.T. Button

“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!”

“Distressed” or “How Ignorant Disney Generalizations Make Me Feel”

The slightly satirical rant begins now.

Labeling all or most of the Disney Princesses damsels in “a state of danger or desperate need” waiting for their happily ever afters courtesy of princes riding in to save them doesn’t make you sound enlightened and progressive. It makes you sound like you don’t know your Disney movies, and it irks me no end. For those of you who can’t be bothered to get the facts on your own, here they are in pithy summary.

Snow White = All right, you get one point. This kid needed a compassionate huntsman, a septet of miners, and a prince to have her back, because she was too busy singing in ridiculous falsetto with the adorable wildlife to think much about self-preservation. Moving on.

You’re killing the cause, honey.
You’re killing the cause, honey.

Cinderella = Technically, she earned her way out of her mess of a life by making the house’s vermin feel like they owed her favors. It pays to be kind, folks.

Aurora/Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty = She was living a happy peasant life in the forest until her fairy guardians dropped the bombshell that she was a princess betrothed to a prince she didn’t think she wanted to marry because she didn’t know the guy she danced with in the woods was, in fact, that very prince. (I feel like I could be describing a Shakespearean comedy, right now.) Despite her disappointment, she decided to be an adult about it and would have fulfilled her royal obligations had she not been hypnotized and knocked unconscious by an enchanted spindle. You’re not gonna blame a gal for being cursed to sleep through the dragon battle, are you? Shake your fist at the story, if you like, but don’t take it out on the people who had to live it.

Ariel/The Little Mermaid = She had no need to wait for a prince to save her, because she wasn’t in any danger until she jumped into it headfirst on her own. On the contrary, she saved the prince from a noble death at sea following the heroic rescue of his dog from a burning ship. You want a princess who takes her destiny by the horns to the point of stupidity? Here you go. She went out and got everything she ever dreamed of, and it only almost cost the wellbeing of the entire ocean to do it. Slow clap for character agency.

Well, at least she learned a valuable lesson to pass onto the next generation, thus facilitating the avoidance of a repetition of her mistakes. Oh, wait…
Well, at least she learned a valuable lesson to pass onto the next generation, thus facilitating the avoidance of a repetition of her mistakes. Oh, wait…

Belle/Beauty of “…and the Beast” fame = If she were as pathetic as the usual brushoffs would claim, she would have stayed in her poor provincial town and married Gaston without a fuss instead of spurning him and trading her freedom for her father’s in a creepy castle. The only instance in which she needed saving was when she tried to break her promise to the Beast by fleeing the castle and got attacked by wolves. The moral of the story? Don’t break your promises. (And stay out of the freaking forbidden West Wing, Nosy Parker!)

Jasmine = Another instance of not being in distress until someone does something knuckleheaded. In this case, it was Aladdin’s fault for vying for her hand under false pretenses and allowing a sorcerer to get his hands on the magic lamp. Really, it’s only right that he save her, after all the trouble he caused.

Pocahontas = Quote John Smith, her tribe, and a number of the Virginia Company, “Thanks for saving us.” (Not a real quote, but the sentiment was there.)

Mulan = No one complains about Mulan, because she dressed up like a man. Telling.

Tiana/the Princess of “…and the Frog” fame = Wait for a prince?? She wouldn’t even ask her gazillionaire best friend to just loan her the capital to start up her own business! Also, quote Prince Naveen and all of New Orleans, “Thanks for saving us.” (See parenthetical statement in the Pocahontas section.)

Rapunzel = You realize she blackmailed a wanted thief into acting as a tour guide on her birthday jaunt to the city, right? She wasn’t waiting for a prince, just for the gumption to defy her emotionally abusive maternal figure. There’s a difference.

Merida = No one complains about Merida, because she’s Scottish.

Changing her fate, Ariel-style.
Changing her fate, Ariel-style.

There you go, dear readers. The next time you encounter someone spewing such ill-informed slander, just link ‘em here. We’ll rise above the prejudices of yore, one gentle correction at a time.

P.S. – speaking of princesses, “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)” releases this Friday. /End plug/

“Damnosa Hereditas” or “A Bird? A Plane? No, It’s a *Word-Saver*!”

Whilst flitting about from blog to blog, eyes open for content to tickle my fancy, I happened upon a little weekly blog hop called Save-a-Word Saturday, hosted by the two-writer blog The Feather and the Rose. Me being something of a minor champion of language, you can imagine that my fancy was tickled nigh to the point of hiccups.

The blog hop’s rules, as quoted/paraphrased/abbreviated from the post linked to above, are these:

Save-a-Word Saturday

1) Create a post linking back to the hosts. (Check!)

2) Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in the post. (If you find yourself in want of options, Feather ‘n’ Rose recommended a site that may have some word-lovers drooling. Luciferous Logolepsy. Even its name is old and delicious!)

3) Provide a definition of your word, and use it in a sentence or short paragraph vaguely related to the particular week’s chosen theme.

4) Sign up properly on the host post’s linky list so participants can easily find each other and share their logophilistic joy.

5) Be a hero by sharing these retro words with the world!

Does this or does this not scream “Ever On Word”? Yes, I thought so, too. I doubt very much that I’ll remember to take part in the fun every week, but I’m tickled so far past pink, its purple to join in today, especially since this week’s theme is… Fairy Tales. (If you weren’t aware that I love fairy tales, know it now.)

From the Luciferous Logolepsy database, I bring you the phrase “damnosa hereditas”, meaning “burdensome inheritance”.

In a sentence:

While Rosemary could not but view her quarter-mile-long hair as something of a damnosa hereditas, she took some comfort in remembrance that, share her mother’s tresses though she must, at least she had a less preposterous plant name than Rapunzel.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my civic duty done for the day. ^-^