Cast of Characters:
— Present Day —
Hannah Fox:A present-day girl in her early teens
Grandma: Pearl McKay, Hannah’s grandmother, a woman in her early seventies
Mom: Lisa Fox, Hannah’s mother, Pearl’s daughter, a woman in her mid-forties
Ms. Edna Brown: Hannah’s junior high science teacher, a woman in her early seventies
— 1955 —
Young Pearl: Pearl, a preteen girl
Young Edna: Edna, a preteen girl
— 1985 —
Young Lisa: Lisa, a teenage girl
Miss Brown: Lisa’s junior high science teacher, a woman in her early forties
Pearl McKay: Lisa’s mother, Pearl, a woman in her early forties
Pearl’s home, present day; Edna’s home, 1955; Pearl’s home, 1985
GRANDMA’s house, a cozy living room decorated with family photos, framed embroidery, lace doilies, and crocheted afghans. HANNAH and GRANDMA sit on an overstuffed floral couch downstage right, looking at a scrapbook.
GRANDMA: Oh, Hannah, this is lovely. I’m so glad your mom got you to start a scrapbook. Seems like most kids now use that, oh, what’s it called…FaceChat, TweetFace?
HANNAH: [Giggles] …yeah, something like that.
GRANDMA: [As MOM enters from stage right] You certainly seem more excited about scrapbooking than your mother was at your age.
MOM: [Sits beside HANNAH and picks up her own scrapbook from the coffee table] Well, I had a little help from her science teacher. Guess who she has? Ms. Brown, same teacher I had.
HANNAH: Edna Brown is still teaching?
MOM: Yep, and still into scrapbooking. She’s the one who got me started when I told my mom scrapbooking was lame.
GRANDMA: I believe you said it was “totally bogus.” She was more stubborn than you, Hannah; I had to bribe her with her own camera.
HANNAH: She didn’t have a phone? [MOM and GRANDMA laugh.] What?
MOM: [Flipping through her scrapbook] When I was a kid, phones were attached to the wall, not in your pocket. And they were used for…wait for it… making phone calls. I know, crazy, huh? Oh look, Mom, here’s the day we got our first computer.
HANNAH: Cool! Did you get a laptop or a tablet? [MOM and GRANDMA laugh again.] What?
MOM: You wouldn’t have wanted that thing on your lap, if you ever wanted to walk again. [Putting down scrapbook] Anyway, Mom, I’ve got all the stuff ready, if I’m still allowed to learn the top secret family chili recipe.
GRANDMA laughs; she and MOM rise and exit stage right. HANNAH continues looking at scrapbook. MS. BROWN enters stage left, looking around furtively. She is a woman in her late 60s, wearing a white lab coat, with her hair in a messy ponytail. She is immediately recognizable as “eccentric.”
MS. BROWN: Psst! Hannah!
HANNAH: Ms. Brown! We were just talking about you. What’s up?
MS. BROWN: Hannah, I need your help. I have an urgent problem that involves you, in a way, and besides, you’re the only one of my students who properly appreciates the importance of scrapbooking. [Deep breath.] But in order to explain, first I have to tell you about my invention.
BROWN crosses to HANNAH, sits, and reaches into her bag. She pulls out a large object vaguely resembling a camera, but so covered with wires, flashing lights, and fans, it looks like someone coated an old Polaroid in glue and rolled it through an electronics factory.
HANNAH: Whoa…what is that thing?
MS. BROWN: This…is a time camera. Everyone knows looking at photos transports one mentally to a different time and place. I theorized, then, that photos of a high enough resolution could transport one physically as well. And it works! At one-point-twenty-one jigapixels, time travel is possible! I call it [grandly]…Flux Photography.
HANNAH: Wow, Ms. B., that’s amazing!
MS. BROWN: Amazing…and dangerous. Look. [Shows HANNAH a photo.]
HANNAH: The picture of our scrapbooking club? Why’s it all…fuzzy?
MS. BROWN: That’s why I need your help. I’ve done something terribly careless. I used the time camera to convert an old picture to a flux photo, and I went back to 1955 to see my childhood home. But when I returned, I found I’d lost my copy of “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking!
HANNAH: You…carry that around with you?
MS. BROWN: Yes of course! Why? [Beat.]
HANNAH: Never mind. Anyway, no big; can’t you just get another copy?
MS. BROWN: It’s not that simple. The day I lost the book, my younger self was waiting for her friend, your grandmother, to arrive, to show off her new camera. This was the day that led us to start our scrapbooks! Plus, the book I left hadn’t even been written yet; if my younger self reads it, the consequences could be catastrophic. Leaving that book has changed history, and that is why the photo is fading!
HANNAH: [Alarmed] Oh em gee! Ok, I get it…but why can’t you just go back and get the book?
MS. BROWN: It’s too dangerous. There are already two of me in that time; one more could endanger the entire fabric of reality. That’s why I need your help.
HANNAH: What do I need to do?
MS. BROWN: You have to go back to 1955, and get that book!
HANNAH: [Nervously] Whoa. [Deep breath] Okay, Ms. B, I’ll try. If I have trouble when I get there, I’ll text you.
MS. BROWN: [Beat.] You’ll text me. From 1955.
MS. BROWN: [Aside] Great Scott!