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Smallpox (Act 1 Scene 1)
(Camera fades in on an overhead shot of New York City. The streets are nearly empty and it is eerily quiet. As the camera pans to the right it zooms in on a small apartment. The camera angle makes you feel like you are looking through the window. There are two girls, in what looks like a bedroom, lying across a bed talking quietly. We cannot hear what the girls are saying but a narrator’s voice speaks over them)
Narrator: This is not the New York City we know, and some love. Here there are no bustling streets, no overwhelming chant of millions of people discussing, arguing, and socializing. This is an empty New York. The people fear to leave their homes. Fear to be infected with the disease that has killed so many of their friends and neighbors. Smallpox has immobilized the city that never sleeps.
(Suddenly a haggard looking woman bursts into the girls’ room, startling them.)
Woman: Come on Lee. Come on Chelsea. We have got to go! Pack your things and meet me downstairs in five minutes.
Lee: Why? Where are we going mother?
Mother: (solemnly) You and your sister Chelsea are leaving this cursed city.
Chelsea: (surprised) You are not coming with us?
Mother: No. I must stay here and take care of your siblings.
Lee: Why can’t we stay and help care for them too?
Mother: (grimly) You two girls are the only two that have not been infected with smallpox. If you two stay any longer you will become infected as well. If you leave now, though, you can avoid the disease completely.
Chelsea: Where are we to go? We have no other relatives in New York.
Mother: Exactly. That’s why you shall be staying with your grandparents in Massachusetts.
Chelsea and Lee: Massachusetts!
Lee: That’s so far away! Will we take the subway there?
Mother: There is no subway to Massachusetts dear, you will travel by bus.
Chelsea: (resolutely) I’m not going. You can go if you like Lee but I am staying here.
(Camera slowly zooms away from the window, the expression of shock still on Chelsea and Lee’s Mother’s face. Lee looks confused and Chelsea is emotionless. The camera stops zooming and fades to black over the dreary picture of New York City.)