GRANDMA’s house, exterior. HANNAH and MS. BROWN stand on the porch downstage right. MS. BROWN has just finished taking a photo of HANNAH.
MS. BROWN: [Handing photos to HANNAH one by one] All right, Hannah, when you’re ready to return, use the picture we just took, like I showed you. Here is the photo of my home in 1955, to take you into the past. And here is the scrapbook club photo so you can confirm the normal chain of events has been restored.
HANNAH: Okay, use this picture [holding up photo] to go get your book, and use this picture [holding up other photo] to come back here. Right?
MS. BROWN: Correct. Do your best to avoid meeting or talking to anyone, to avoid changing the timeline further. Oh, and if you see the me from 2015, do not speak to her under any circumstances!
HANNAH: Why? Couldn’t I just tell you not to drop your book?
MS. BROWN: [Horrified] Absolutely not! If you did that, then I would never have come here, and you would never have been sent back to 1955…and the resulting paradox could cause an explosion that would —
HANNAH: [Interrupting] –would be bad, ok, I get it.
MS. BROWN: [Deep breath] If you run into difficulty and absolutely must interact with someone, I suggest my younger self. But only if it’s extremely necessary. Are you ready?
HANNAH: As I’m gonna get, I guess. YOLO, right?
MS. BROWN: [Blinks, questioning the wisdom of sending HANNAH into the fifties, then shakes her head in resignation.] YOLO indeed. Good luck.
MS. BROWN backs away as HANNAH inserts the photo into a slot on the time camera. The device starts to flicker and vibrate, culminating in a brilliant photo flash. Stage lights flicker and then go down as the camera flashes.
When lights come back up, it is 1955. We see HANNAH in the same spot downstage right, but she is standing behind some bushes in a suburban backyard. YOUNG EDNA and YOUNG PEARL, both in their early teens, sit at a patio table stage right. PEARL is the more girly of the two, clad in a bright poodle skirt and a red scarf around her neck. EDNA is more plainly dressed, with black horn-rimmed glasses. The two girls are looking at EDNA’s new camera.
PEARL: Gee, Edna, I can’t believe your pop got you such a swell camera! What kind of pictures you gonna take?
HANNAH: [Aside] Did she say Edna? That must be young Ms. B! Aww, she is the cutest little old timey nerd girl ever! She’s like, hipster nerd, before it was cool.
EDNA: I’m not sure what we should photograph first. I had considered a nature study on local flora, but what do you think, Pearl?
HANNAH: [Aside, as PEARL thinks it over] Oh. Em. Gee! That must be my grandma! Whoa. She’s like…a kid and stuff. Mind…blown! [She continues hiding and listening to the conversation.]
PEARL: You know…Lorraine and Mary Margaret have scrapbooks of pictures from magazines of movie stars and fancy dresses and things. What if we did that, except with our own pictures?
EDNA: Why would I want photos of fancy dresses?
PEARL: [Rolling her eyes] Because they’re pretty, Edna. I swear, you are the absolute end sometimes.
EDNA: [Thoughtfully] I suppose it might not be a bad idea to keep a record for posterity, for when I become a famous scientist.
PEARL: [Giggling.] Oh, sure, honey, a famous scientist. Will that be before or after you find Shangri-La? You’re going to scare all the boys off with crazy talk like that, and end up an old maid! [At EDNA’s lack of concern, she sighs.] Look, just trust me. Let me run home and get some outfits, and we’ll take turns dressing up. It’ll be a blast!
Before EDNA can object, PEARL scampers off stage left, clearly excited. After making sure the coast is clear, EDNA pulls “A Brief History of Time” out from under a stack of magazines, opens it, and begins reading.
HANNAH: [Gasps.] Oh snap! That must be Ms. B’s book! Now what?
HANNAH gathers her nerve and steps out from behind the bushes. EDNA is engrossed in reading and takes no notice of her until HANNAH reaches the table and clears her throat, causing EDNA to jump with a startled squeak.
HANNAH: Whoa, chill, it’s all good, don’t freak out.
EDNA: [Trying to make sense of the sentence.] What is?
HANNAH: What is what?
EDNA: What is all good?
HANNAH: [Starts to answer, and then stops thoughtfully.] Uh…I dunno, actually. Just “it.” You know, it’s just an expression.
EDNA: If I knew, I wouldn’t have asked.
HANNAH: Right. [Beat.] So, anyway…I’m Hannah. Hi.
EDNA: Pleased to meet you. Care to explain why you, a complete stranger, are in my backyard?
HANNAH: Well…I…um…lost a book! Yeah. I totes lost this book earlier, and I’ve been way stressed about it. Maybe you’ve seen it?
EDNA: [Suspiciously] What book is it?
HANNAH: Oh, it’s nothing special…just a…um… book for school. Some boring dude talking about theories and stuff, super lame, nothing you’d want to read I’m sure…[Trailing off hopefully]
EDNA: All right, “Hannah,” if that is your real name. I come outside today and find a mystery book lying here, with a publishing date some thirty years in the future and notes in the margins that look like my handwriting but aren’t. And now some girl appears in my yard, speaking nonsense like she learned English from a dictionary with all the pages shuffled. What’s really going on?
HANNAH: [Miserably] It’s not my fault, Ms. B! I was just trying to help; I don’t know anything about this Hawking guy! And why’d you have to drop your dumb book anyway?
EDNA: My book…I…wh–… [Shaking her head] …what on earth are you talking about?
HANNAH: Well, you did say it was ok to talk to you if I had to …so, yeah, basically in the future you make this time camera..[gradually increasing in speed and volume as she gets more agitated]…and you came back here to visit, but dropped your book, and you were freaking out like the world was ending, and the scrapbook club picture is fading even though we used the good paper, and the future is going to be all messed up and the whole universe is going to explode it’s all my fault, and I knew this was a bad idea, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!!
EDNA: Great Scott!