Surprises: A Chronological SynopsisWith its time-travel elements and intertwined plot-lines, some of the more subtle plot points of Surprises can be missed on first viewing. This page offers a chronological breakdown of events in the play relating to the Titus and Grace plot.
The Near Future
- Grace is currently dating Tim, who along with a friend Fizz, has been developing a practical theory of time travel.
- Grace's father Franklin calls his lawyer Lorraine asking her to prepare a meeting with Tim and Fizz for that day in order offer them a substantial investment in their research. The only proviso is Tim stops seeing Grace immediately.
- Franklin goes to see Grace in her bedroom. They argue about the unsuitability of Tim as her boyfriend.
- Franklin makes a surreptitious call to his lawyer, Lorraine, instructing her to go ahead with the meeting with Tim and to make the offer.
- Franklin leaves Grace, who contacts Tim. He tells her a meeting has just been arranged for that day with a mystery investor.
- A Time Leap Tours time capsule arrives in Grace's room and Titus appears (this is Tim from 50 years in the future). He is both very successful and very rich having accepted the investment offer to develop Time Leap Tours and agreed to never see Grace again (see alternative timeline at the bottom of the page).
- 'Successful' Titus convinces Grace he is from the future and how he regrets his decision to accept the investment rather than stay with her. Given longevity has increased human life, he asks her to come back to the future to live with him. She refuses and he goes back to the future. Note: this is the only time we see 'Successful' Titus due to Grace's subsequent actions.
- Grace rushes away to see Tim before his meeting to tell him not to accept the offer. This single action changes the future and essentially erases 'Successful' Titus and Time Leap Tours.
- A Historic Exploration Adventures time capsule arrives in Grace's room and a notably less successful future Titus appears. Having missed Grace (due to the nature of time-travel, you cannot arrive at the exact same time as previous visits), he returns to the future noting he has failed to stop Grace making a terrible mistake.
- At his meeting with Lorraine - and having been forewarned by Grace, Tim turns down the offer of investment as he does not want to stop seeing Grace.
- Lorraine informs Franklin of Tim's decision.
- Grace proposes to Tim soon afterwards and they marry, against Grace's parents' wishes.
- Franklin makes an investment offer to Fizz, which he accepts, giving Franklin control over any of Fizz's time-travel developments.
1 - 20 Years Later
- At some point in the next 20 years, Fizz successful develops practical time-travel and Franklin creates the Historic Exploration Adventures time-travel firm.
- Franklin employs Tim (now known as Titus) as Vice Chief Executive of Historic Exploration Adventures; Titus is quite aware this position is only as a result of being married to Grace.
21 - 49 Years Later
- In the following 30 years, Titus makes 15 illegal trips back in time to Grace's bedroom on the day of the investment meeting. He hopes to warn her off stopping him accepting the investment offer. He fails every time.
- Grace and Titus's marriage begins to deteriorate to the point where she lives off-world from him.
50 Years Later
- Fifty years after the investment meeting, Titus makes his final failed trip back in time to warn Grace. This is the trip previously seen.
- Franklin tells Titus he has been aware of the illegal time trips and he must stop them and accept his decision to marry Grace fifty years ago. He suggests Titus might perhaps resolve his issues by talking to Grace rather than trying to alter time.
- Titus and Grace agree to separate. Titus finally meets the woman he has been dating in a virtual world.
The alternative - or more accurately - original timeline is glimpsed briefly in the play before Grace's actions change the future entirely. Briefly, the original timeline looks like this:
- Grace is dating Tim, who along with a friend Fizz, has been developing a practical theory of time-travel.
- Franklin, in a bid to stop his daughter dating Tim, arranges for his lawyer to make a substantial investment in their research; providing Tim stops seeing Grace.
- Tim and Fizz accept the investment and Tim stops seeing Grace.
- At some point in the next 20 years, Tim and Fizz successfully develop practical time-travel and create the Time Leap Tours company of which Tim is the Managing Director. He becomes very rich and very successful.
- 50 years later, Tim (now Titus) realises that he made a mistake splitting up with Grace and travels back in time to persuade her to come with him to the future where, due to advances in longevity, he's still a relatively young man. She refuses and he returns to the future unaware his actions mean Grace will now alter the future forever.