A Briefer History of Time
by Arthur Danin Adler
Play and Screenplay
A shaft of light falls on a large, crumpled, dark gray, dusty mound of cloth at the center of the stage. A pole extends straight up from the center of it and ends in a dark shadow just out of sight.,
After a moment, movement can be seen as if something or someone is trying to get out from underneath the mound. GAM pops his head through, sneezing and coughing. He shakes the dust off his face, grabs at the pole and begins to scramble
up it. A hand pokes though the mound reaching wildly in the air. The hand grabs the bottom of Gam's pants. BET pulls his head and shoulders out of the mound. After a moment, another figure, ALF, scrambles out of the mound and over
the top of the other two on the pole.
With this eruption, we are introduced to three people who escaped the “Black Death” of the 14th century by digging... in a sewer in London. What they don’t fully realize is that they
are traveling through time! This brief pause stops them in our time on the stage of a theatre. They quibble and jostle with each other until they suddenly become aware of the audience... people who are frozen in their seats and
apparently unaware of them. After an absurd discussion of mathematics and the cosmos, they attempt to connect with the people in front of them. But they are afraid to leave the pole, afraid they will be stranded. So they link themselves
together, hands to feet and stretch out from their spot in an effort to get a closer look. The result is chaos as they tumble free of each other and lose their anchor on the pole. When they realize that they will be free to travel on,
they explore the “frozen” audience before dismissing the entire event as a meaningless diversion.