Scrapbook…to the Future: A Play in One Act (Scene 3)


GRANDMA’s house, exterior. HANNAH and MS. BROWN stand on the porch downstage right. HANNAH is in the midst of filling MS. BROWN in on what happened during her trip to 1955.

HANNAH: …so once I finally got you, I mean old you…or, no, I mean young you…or…[Beat.] …whatevs…to understand what I was talking about, you were actually cool with it and gave me the book with no problem. [Handing book to MS. BROWN] So why is the scrapbook club photo still messed up?

MS. BROWN: [Taking the book with a sigh] Because, as I now remember, my younger self was not honest with you, Hannah. In my youthful hubris, I felt I could outsmart time itself. I’m ashamed to say I swapped the book cover onto one of my schoolbooks, and kept the Hawking book for myself.

HANNAH: [Gasps] Ms. B! I can’t believe you lied to me! Why didn’t you warn me before I went back?

MS. BROWN: Because my younger self hadn’t met you yet, so I didn’t know I was going to have lied to you, so I was unable to warn you in the present of what hadn’t yet happened in the past.

HANNAH: [Beat.] …yeah, this time travel stuff? I literally can’t even.

MS. BROWN: Tell me about it.

At any rate, Hannah, the picture is wavering because in 1985, I considered leaving teaching to study with Stephen Hawking. At the moment, I can still remember both paths…which means we must go back to 1985 right away and help me make the right choice!

MS. BROWN inserts a photo into a slot on the time camera. The device starts to flicker and flash again, and stage lights go down.

When lights come back up, it is the middle of Pearl’s living room, this time in 1985. HANNAH and MS. BROWN stand center stage, having arrived right in plain sight in front of PEARL, EDNA, and YOUNG LISA, who all stare at them dumbfounded. PEARL and EDNA are now in their mid-forties. PEARL wears stonewashed jeans and a sweatshirt that says “World’s Greatest Mom” in neon puffy paint. EDNA wears a power suit complete with huge shoulder pads. They sit on the couch having coffee. LISA sits in a chair under the old wall phone, her hair in a side ponytail, wearing leggings with leg warmers, two long brightly colored t-shirts layered over each other with the top shirt liberally shredded to show the one beneath, and a denim jacket covered in pins and buttons over all. She is paused mid-conversation.

LISA: [Beat] …yeah, I’m gonna have to call you back dude. [Hangs up phone.]

HANNAH: That awkward moment when you’re time traveling and you randomly appear out of thin air in your grandma’s living room… [She laughs nervously, then turns it into a cough when no one else reacts.]

EDNA: [To Hannah] You! I should have known you’d be back someday. Which means the person with you must be…me? [Crosses to MS. BROWN, eyeing her critically] Great Scott, I really let myself go in my old age, didn’t I?

MS. BROWN: Well that seems uncalled for, but the idea of scolding myself for being rude to myself gives me a headache.

PEARL: So…Edna? I don’t mean to interrupt, but what on EARTH is going on?

MS. BROWN and EDNA both start to answer at the same time and give each other a sharp look. MS. BROWN gestures for EDNA to go ahead.

EDNA: Pearl, allow me to introduce some people you won’t remember in a few hours, if my efforts to master hypnosis work as well as I planned. [Beat.] This young lady is your future granddaughter, Hannah, and this wrinkled crone is my future self.

MS. BROWN: [Raising an eyebrow.] Crone? Really?

PEARL: [Floundering for a response, and resorting to “good hostess”] Oh…it’s, um, a pleasure to…meet you? Welcome to my living room. Would you like something to drink?

HANNAH: Do you have Red Bull?

PEARL: [Soldiering on] We, ah, don’t keep livestock. We just bought New Coke…would you like to try that?

HANNAH: Do you usually buy old Coke? [Shaking her head.] Um, no…how about bottled water?

PEARL: You…don’t use cups…in the future?

HANNAH: You know what? I’m actually not thirsty.

PEARL: Oh thank goodness. [Collapses back into her seat, with her hand over her eyes, exhausted by the weirdness.]

MS. BROWN: Edna, we clearly need to resolve this as quickly as possible. Would you be so kind as to join me in the kitchen for a brief but incredibly technical discussion of temporal physics?

EDNA: Why certainly, Edna, I’d be delighted. [They exit right.]

LISA: So…you’re, like, from the future?

HANNAH: Yep. And you’re my mom.

LISA: That…is totally weird. Am I a cool mom?

HANNAH: Well, mostly, yeah. Though you could chill out about the whole homework situation a little. [The girls both giggle, as much to relieve the weirdness factor as for humor.]

LISA: So, what’s the future like? I bet you guys have like, totally rad gear, like flying cars and hoverboards and stuff.

HANNAH: Lawl. Not so much. We have computers, though, and those are pretty cool.

LISA: [Unimpressed] Oh, we have computers too; my dad just got us one today! It’s so totally awesome; it, like, has games and everything.

HANNAH: [Laughs] Yeah, my mom…er, you…showed me a picture of that thing; it’s gi-mongous. What does it play, Tic Tac Toe?

LISA: No, it has cool games…like this one called Oregon Trail, where you take your wagon across the country, and you can like, get eaten by bears and die of dysentery and stuff.

HANNAH: [Beat.] Sounds like a blast. [As the EDNAs return from stage right] Oh hey, Ms. B and Ms. B…are we all golden?

EDNA: Well, I pointed out to me that the Hawking book was clearly completed without my intervention, whereas the scrapbook club and the time camera would not exist if I left teaching. Since I make it a point to never argue with myself when I’m right, I agreed.

HANNAH: Sweet! And…[checking the scrapbook club photo]…it looks like time is back to how it’s supposed to be. So what now?

MS. BROWN: Well, my younger self will hypnotize your mother and grandmother, to minimize our impact on the time stream and help them to forget this entire incident. And as for us…


MS. BROWN: [Dramatically] We have to go back…to the future.

HANNAH: [Beat.] You’ve just been dying to say that, haven’t you.

MS. BROWN: [As the time camera begins to flicker] All my life, Hannah; all my life.


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