The Earth Exhibit

a play

by S. Ward-Harvey, USA

Characters

MOM: A humanoid mother
GIRL: A humanoid child, about 7, daughter of MOM
BOY: A humanoid child, about 5, son of MOM
HUMAN: A human politician
AGENT: A Paraling (humanoid species on planet Paramence). Gender neutral
GUIDE: A commercial actor portraying a museum curator. Gender neutral

SCENE ONE

AT RISE: MOM is leading BOY and GIRL along a clear path through a museum. They come to a fork in the road, at the beautiful entrance to the new exhibit. Somehow, we are clearly not on Earth.

MOM

Alright, which one should we do first? History or Space?

BOY

Space!

BOY starts to try and drag GIRL with him toward the Space path. MOM catches him.

MOM

Now, hang on! Which one do you want to see, Girl?

GIRL

Um….Well, I think I want to see space too, but if we have to see both of them then can we just do the boring one first?

MOM

The boring one? You guys think history is boring?

BOY

UGHHHHH I wanna see space stuff!

MOM

Now, hang on, Boy-

BOY

But mom, space is cool! History is boring.

MOM

Oh honey, we have a lot to learn from history! We should check it out and then we can go to the space exhibit. Okay?

BOY is pouting, but he will be fine. He is led into the history exhibit.

GIRL

Woah…look at this!

GIRL rushes to the first windowed exhibit, peering at a strange furry creature with pointed ears and a long tail.

MOM

It says here…(reads the plaque)..this is a Ka…Kah…tuh? Cat? Oh! Yeah, it says here…it is pronounced…Cat. It was a domesticated animal on this planet.

GIRL

Cat-uh…I want one! Look at its ears!

MOM

Oh honey, those are long extinct now. We don’t have the proper environment suitable for them anyway. They existed a very long time ago.

BOY

Like those big lizard creatures we saw at our school fair?

MOM

Big lizard creatures…

BOY

Yeah! And they go like this-

BOY is now demonstrating his best roar and stomps around in a circle.

GIRL

He is talking about a dinosaur, and they go like this, dork!

GIRL shows her best dinosaur impression.

BOY

What? No they do not, it is not like that at all!

MOM

Oh come now, you both are great dinosaurs! Yes, exactly like that, Boy. Dinosaurs lived on this planet too! But they lived on the planet before the humans did.

GIRL

Humans?

BOY

Yeah, Girl, didn’t you know this?

MOM

Oh be nice to your sister, Boy. Yes, the humans! They were the most prominent sentient beings on their planet, like us!

GIRL

Oh! I know humans. Humans are the ones that my teacher said were stupid.

BOY is giggling.

MOM

Hey now! We don’t call anyone stupid, remember?

GIRL

Well yeah, except they are long dead, right? So they won’t be hurt if I call them stupid.

BOY rushes to the next exhibit.

BOY

Woah! Look at this!

In this exhibit there are tall, beautiful redwood trees in what represents a glistening forest.

GIRL

Oh! I know these! These are Earth trees. They created…something important for the humans, right?

MOM

Exactly! Humans had a set of lungs that required oxygen, a chemical that they found in the air. Trees would create oxygen for the humans to breathe.

GIRL

Didn’t they destroy them?

BOY

Destroy them?

GIRL approaches the plaque.

GIRL

It says that…the hoo..humans de..destroy..destroyed! Destroyed all of the…

MOM

Trees…

GIRL

I got it, mom…The humans destroyed all of the trees, because of…what is that?

MOM

Deforestation.

GIRL

De…deforeess…ta…you know, that word.

BOY

What happened to them, Mom?

MOM

Well, Boy and Girl, the humans were a species that suffered from greed. You remember what this is?

BOY

My teacher says that greed is a disease!

MOM

Well, technically, yes, it is a powerful form of desire that took over a human’s brain and prevented them from wanting to share with others.

BOY

Silly humans!

GIRL

So, what happened?

MOM

The humans cut down trees to create things, things that would wind up in large landfills. Their heaps of garbage that would wind up in the ocean? Anyway, the humans didn’t know when to stop, so eventually, they destroyed all of the forests on their home planet. This left animals without homes-

GIRL

Like this one?

GIRL points to the cat.

MOM

Well, kind of. A cat was domesticated, which means they were kept in humans’ homes and mostly treated as equals.

BOY

Were dinosaurs domes…domesti…

MOM

No, honey, dinosaurs were wild animals! There were lots of wild animals on their planet. They lived in the forests and the oceans. They were often hunted, most of them to extinction. Didn’t you just learn about this?

BOY

They killed them, you mean?

MOM

Yes, honey. They killed and ate most of the animals. And those they didn’t kill found other places to die when their homes were destroyed because of human greed.

BOY and GIRL are quiet for a moment.

GIRL

Why are some animals do…domest..and some animals are in the wild?

MOM

Well, Girl, that is one of the mysteries of Earth. We don’t actually know.

BOY

I thought Paramence was smarter than Earth?

MOM

Well, honey, of course our home planet is more advanced than Earth, but we don’t have all the answers. We do have more answers than Earth did, that is why we are more successful than humans.

GIRL

Is that why we only eat plants? Humans didn’t do that.

MOM

Yes, it is. We are being very kind to our home planet by only eating plants.

BOY

I don’t want to kill animals. Animals are friends. Humans are mean.

MOM

Me either, that’s why Earth didn’t make it. They exhausted their resources because they were too greedy to stop and think about the bigger picture. They kept taking from the Earth and never allowed to Earth to heal. Taking and taking until it was dead. The animals died, the ocean was poisoned, the air was clouded and no longer breathable…see?

MOM shows GIRL and BOY the next exhibit. It features a white coral reef underneath the ocean.

BOY

Are those bones?

MOM

No, Boy, those are dying coral reefs.

GIRL

That was the fishes’ home, right?

MOM

Yes, it was. Now they can’t live in it because it has lost all of its nutrients. Well, that and the ocean was crowded with plastic and other things…but yes, overall, the coral reefs lost their nutrients, and the water did too.

GIRL

Oh…is this why we take those gummies in the morning?

BOY

Ew! Our nutrient gummies?

MOM

It is why you take those! It is important that you keep your color. Blue Nutrients are the gummies for us!

BOY

Did you get to meet humans?

MOM

How old do you think I am?

GIRL

Mooooom, we are serious! Did you?

MOM

No, I didn’t meet humans.

BOY

Do we get to see Earth someday? Maybe we can find a human so we can fight to the death!

GIRL

No way, Boy, you’d have to have a ship first.

MOM

If you want to see Earth someday, you’ll have to become a scientist and see for yourself! I am sure Earth will be there when you grow up. Their sun isn’t set to explode for another few hundred years.

GIRL

We will live long enough to see it explode?

MOM

You’ll be an old lady, but sure! You very well could.

BOY

HAHA! You’ll be old!

MOM

Boy, you will be old too, silly.

GIRL

Mom, what’s this one?

GIRL approaches an exhibit covered by a curtain. When pulled, we do not see what is behind. They are marveling.

MOM

Is that…a real-

GUIDE steps onto the stage.

GUIDE

It’s true! Our Earth exhibit is now open. Take a look at the wonders we have discovered on planet Earth shortly before its demise. Our team of experts hand selected each of these artifacts straight from the planet itself, for your viewing pleasure! You won’t believe what you’ll see, and you may even get to see our prized artifact…a very real human!


SCENE TWO

AT RISE: We are in a room with a chair and a table. There is a human tied to a chair. The TV clicks off, and AGENT enters in a suit.

HUMAN

What the fuck was that?

AGENT

So, you liked it then?

HUMAN

None of that is true. What is this, anyway?

AGENT

It was sent to our younglings in schools this morning.

HUMAN

What—why?

AGENT

We don’t believe in keeping secrets even from our children. You would know all about secrets though, you humans are entirely untrustworthy.

HUMAN

I don’t understand, none of that is true. Earth is getting better. And our planet hasn’t died, it is still right where I left it. Speaking of, can I go back now? Please?

AGENT

Absolutely not, you’re our prisoner.

HUMAN

What did I do?

AGENT

Enabled the destruction of your planet.

HUMAN

Again, the Earth hasn’t ended-

AGENT

You sure about that? You’ve been away for quite some time now.

HUMAN

I don’t understand, any of this.

AGENT

You will, in time. You will understand the destruction of your ways.

HUMAN

We are trying to be better.

AGENT

No one will believe that. It wasn’t enough anyway, you were all too absorbed in your small, petty problems that you forgot about the one staring you in the face.

HUMAN

There were protests, movements, beach cleanings, and–and-

AGENT

Why?

HUMAN

What do you mean, why? So we could rescue our planet.

AGENT

Right, so you could take from it again. You were only “rescuing” your planet so that you could continue using its resources. You only started to care when it was too late. You didn’t care. No human cared. Until it affected you directly.

HUMAN

That’s not true! All humans aren’t the same! I was starting to go vegetarian, for God’s sake!

AGENT

Ohhhh right, excuse me, we must be mistaken.

HUMAN

Don’t bullshit me.

AGENT

We tried to give you humans chances.

HUMAN

What makes you think that I represent humanity?

AGENT

Well, you sure seemed to think you did! You were so loud…posters of your face all over the internet, you stood before crowds of millions. You sure wanted to represent humanity.

HUMAN

I wanted to represent my country, not humanity as a whole!

AGENT

What’s the difference?

HUMAN

What do you mean?

AGENT

How is representing a country not the same as representing humanity?

HUMAN

Humanity could never agree, there is no accurate way to represent humanity. We are all so drastically different from one another.

AGENT

And yet you are the same! You are blind to your carnage. You are blind to the destruction of your planet. You are blind to the extinction of Earth’s wildlife. You are all blind. We gave you a chance to rescue the planet, but you did nothing.

HUMAN

I didn’t know what to do. They weren’t going to listen to me!

AGENT

Who?

HUMAN

Anybody! They would have called me a pussy if I started preaching veganism and climate change. Those people get trampled!

AGENT

So, you didn’t care about it then.

HUMAN

That is not what that means.

AGENT

So, you didn’t care what happened to your planet then. If you didn’t do anything because you were worried about an image, then you didn’t care about the cause.

HUMAN

That isn’t true.

AGENT

So, as humans were no longer capable of taking care of their planet, we couldn’t have you getting further into space. We couldn’t have your toxic species find another planet to destroy.

HUMAN

So, you did this?

AGENT

We did nothing but allow the course of time to…speed up. It was humanity’s fault the planet died.

HUMAN

You didn’t give us a chance.

AGENT

We gave you plenty. Now, if you have nothing left to say, we can return you to your cell. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of visitors.

HUMAN

In that stupid museum?

AGENT

Ah, see, it’s that attitude that got your planet destroyed. Perhaps you should be kinder to your new home.

HUMAN

Why are you doing this? Who gave you the right to decide what happens to us?

AGENT

We are punishing you for your crimes against your planet. You, human, are under arrest for conspiring to destroy your home planet and all of the wildlife within it.

HUMAN

Wait, but I don’t understand! Why were you watching us, why didn’t you help us if you saw us struggling? Wait!

HUMAN goes to panic and shout, but AGENT has exited.

END OF PLAY.

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