Einstein's Last Words

An OneMinPlay for TenMinJoe's quest.

Dramatis Personae:
Two Scientists

The most important equipment for this play is a machine that can play some sort of recorded device (stereo, answering machine, Victrola), and a recorded device of the same medium with some generic German phrase recorded on it. It would be nice if this device could be put on one or two chairs to create a 'table' of sorts. If such a device is not available, put two chairs together and use an imaginary stereo, with a good deal of miming. Obviously, this would be a last resort. Chairs for the reporters are also optional, but desirable.


(Scene opens. The two Scientists and Translator are standing beside the playing device, with the Reporters (as many as there are available people) conglomerated nearby, sitting if possible. Scientist 1 is in the middle of a speech.)

Scientist 1: ...and so after rigorous testing of the chronophone (gestures towards device), all of us down at the University decided that there could be no better way to showcase it to the public than by finally discovering the meaning of Einstein's last words. As we all know, his last line on Earth was in German, but sadly, his English-speaking nurse could not understand him. So the world never knew... until now. I would like to thank all of our reporters and the esteemed German Chancellor (gestures to Translator) for arriving on such short notice. Let's begin.

(Scientist 2 activates the device. Faintly, a voice can be heard speaking something in German before the chronophone fades back into complete static. The Reporters begin to murmur, and the Translator is shocked. The tape continues to play through the following lines.)

Reporter: (shouting, startled) Mein Gott! (faints)

{The Translator, pale, whispers something into Scientist 2's ear.)

Scientist 1: Well, what did he have to say? Come, come, spit it out!

(Scientist 2 whispers a few words to Scientist 1. Scientist 1 is taken aback.)

Scientist 1: (shakily, softly, a bit stunned) ...And the... the future returns your greetings, Mr. Einstein... (Pause.) but how, how did you know?

(Scientist 1 stares blankly at the device, which continues to play static. The curtain falls.)

Thanks to Stephen Baxter & Arthur C. Clarke for inspiration.