Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New One Act Play: Downton Zombie

Yes, I finally hopped on the Walking Dead bandwagon and created a zombie comedy...

And I am simultaneously poking fun at the popular BBC show, Downton Abbey.

But actually, I was more inspired by the old program Upstairs Downstairs. I found those characters -- especially the butler -- far more fascinating, and decided I wanted to write in the spirit of those comedy-of-manners classics, but twist things up with some gruesome undead characters.

My favorite part about this one-act comedy is that the wealthy characters are so clueless, they don't notice when half their staff has transformed into zombies!

The play is available through Pioneer Drama Service.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Where the Heck Have I Been???

Wow!  I knew I had been away from this blog for a long stretch of time... but I didn't realize I had neglected it for almost four months.

Poor little blog.

Lots o' cool stuff has happened since I last posted.  Some of it, I still can't disclose just yet... however, I can tell you some of the big news.

I SOLD MY SECOND PICTURE BOOK!  (Or, I should say my wonderful agent sold the book, I just sat at my computer waiting for her emails to come trickling in with good news.)

I'll give more details about the publishers, editors, themes. title and all that good stuff.  But for now, I will mention that it is creative non-fiction, not too far away from my first picture book.

What else??? 

My wife and daughters spent half of the summer traveling around the country.  Mackenzie went to Space Camp in Alabama!  (I stayed home to take care of the dogs and teach summer school. Boo.)

Other publishing news... 

"CSI: WONDERLAND" and "THE LITTLE MERMAID" are now in print!  Two funny feature length plays... waiting to have their post-publication premieres.

 You want more publishing news???

Three days ago, I received a contract/offer for a new one-act comedy called :Downton Zombies.

(It's as ridiculous as it sounds.)

What are you working on, Wade? 

That's weird. I suddenly turned this into a weird question-and-answer blog post.  Well, since you asked... I have been writing my unique stage version of "The Three Musketeers."  It should probably be called the "Pre-Musketeers," because it's actually a prequel, a comedic adventure about how Portos, Athos, and Aramis become friends.  I finished Act One in August and then the writing process screeched to a halt.

 Why did it screech to a halt? 

Because I'm lazy.  No! That's not why.  The real reason is because I was cast as one of the two Clowns in The 39 Steps.  That play has been my whole world for the past two and a half months.  It's been the best time I've ever had on stage -- and I've had some awesome times, to be sure.

It sounds like your life is going great, Wade. I'm jealous and I hate you.

If it makes you feel any better, there's lots of boring and annoying things that happen to me.  I just don't Facebook / Blog about those things very often.  I'm getting a root canal done next week.  Does that make you feel any better?

Yes. Yes, it does. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Montana Jones and the Gymnasium of Doom -- Cool Poster!

A poster from a recent production of one of my sillier plays. Performed at a school in Australia!

Friday, June 27, 2014

More Drama Geek Cartoons!

Okay, I may not be the best artist in the world.  In fact, I'm not even the best artist in my house.  But darn it, I am having fun.  Here are some of the latest Drama Geek cartoons.

You can check out the whole collection on my webpage: http://www.wadebradford.com/cartoons

Oh, and don't forget there is more Drama Geek mayhem to be found on my Tumblr page. 

Oh, and this next one is a special tribute to one of my most beloved actors, Harrison Ford, who recently broke his leg while on the set of the new StarWars film. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Good News... More Details Coming Soon...

I cannot say too much specific about my latest good news, but I can tell you one BIG thing:

My agent has received an offer for my second picture book!

I am so grateful.  They say that the second book is the hardest, and for me that was definitely true.  That is to say, I wrote many "second books," but finding a publisher proved very challenging.  If you've been following my adventures as a writer, then you'll recall that shortly after I sold my first picture book, the publisher (Tricycle Press) was purchased and then dismantled by another company.  That meant hat finding a new editor/publisher was like starting all over again.

Fortunately, super-agent Abigail saved the day... as she so often does. 

I'm also happy to report that my first book, Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? Or, a History of Messy Rooms has a bit of staying power.  It might not be an international best seller, but I noticed that it's still used in lots of classrooms. 

I just stumbled upon a cool blog called "Navigating Third Grade" and they were kind enough to include the book in their discussion on C.A.R.E. skills.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Drama Geek #1

"Summer of Fun" Schedule

So, in my last post, I mentioned how amazingly productive I've been.  In this post, allow me to once again say that I am amazingly pathetic when it comes to developing an audience.

I do have a few loyal fans (Hi Mom!).  I am grateful for the many drama teachers that continue to choose my plays.  And there are quite a few nice folks (over 10,000 of them) who bought my picture book, Why Do I Have To Make My Bed? 

But I don't have a following... Mainly because I'm not interesting enough to be followed.  I once had a stalker, but he only stalked me for about minutes and then he was like, "This sucks, I'm outta here."

So, in addition to my writing, I've decided that I am going to do an experiment.  I've got several projects going on this summer.  For the next two months -- and hopefully beyond -- I will be involved with several fun projects that will get me a little bit out of my comfort zone.  I'll be using this blog and my website (and some other socially-networky things) to promote them.  In a few months time, we'll see if any of these things catch on...

And now, without further ado, I present my "Summer of Fun" Schedule:

Monday: Web Comic "Drama Geek" (Monday Edition)
This is a cartoon I've been drawing for a while.  It's like Broadway meets the Far Side.

Tuesday: Professor Picture Book
This is a blog I've been brainstorming about for a while.  A character named "Prof. Picturebook" and his cat will review children's books in the style of Siskel andEbert.

Wednesday: Castle Writemore
Join Sir Snoresalot and the rest of the castle characters as they share writing ideas with young authors.

BONUS: "Drama Geek" (Wednesday Edition)

Thursday: Movie Question Day

Friday: Camp Omigosh YouTube Channel
This week I will be uploading five videos chronicling the misadventures of the kids at Camp Omigosh, creating a YouTube companion piece to the play & novel.

My Writing Activities: May 15th - June 15th

During the last two summers, I took a break from teaching and went up to Washington state.  It was a blast!  Lot's of adventures with the family, and lots of time to work on writing projects.

This summer -- in order to start saving for my daughters' college funds -- correction, in order to first pay off some credit card bill and THEN start saving for college -- I will be teaching two courses.

At first I was very sad about this.  However, it turns out that because I knew I wouldn't have as much free time this summer, I have spent the last four weeks (my break between spring and summer classes) being ultra-creative and mega-productive.  The last thirty days have been a wild ride that has produced a couple new picture books, two new plays, the final chapters of my middle grade novel, and a whole lot of revision.

Oh, and I am signed up for the upcoming SCBWI conference in Los Angeles this August.


Oh, the other not-so-sad part.  My classes take place only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the afternoon.  So, when you think about it, I still get five days off a week.  Ever since I've been hired full time at Moorpark College, I have been counting my blessings.  I get paid to teach students about writing and literature, and I get a nice chunk of free-time.  Can't get much better than that!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Castle Writemore -- A Creative Writing Workbook

The print version is here!  This edition is an 8 X 11 inch paper back, 206 pages, lots of writing prompts, illustrations, funny characters, quirky adventures to inspire the young writer in all of us.  Visit Castle Writemore today! (It is currently priced at $9.45)

There are digital versions available on Kindle... and just about any tablet / phone that leads you view a PDF.

Want some more information? Here's the blurb:

Welcome to the fantastic world of Castle Writemore! "Castle Writemore" is a collection of one hundred and twenty three writing prompts. They have been designed to foster creative writing, descriptive writing, personal reflection, brainstorming techniques, annotative skills, and paragraph development. Each prompt is designed to make writing fun because they take the young writer on an incredible adventure. If you are looking for a unique way to encourage a lifelong love of writing, then you should definitely take a tour of our fantastic kingdom. Written by Wade Bradford (author / playwright / college professor), "Castle Writemore" is ideal for students from ages six to ten; however, any age group can have a splendid time visiting this imaginary world.

The Kindle version is priced at $2.99 and the PDF version at Lulu.com is a bargain at only $2.49.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Blog Hop: The Writing Process

Well, I got tagged by one of my fellow playwrights: the always-inspiring Bobby Keniston - who was nice enough to be the subject of one of my About.com playwright profiles.

Bobby is part of a rather exclusive Facebook group; all of the members are playwrights who focus primarily on plays for teens and children.  It's a great place to ask for feedback, bounce off ideas, and share general frustrations about our craft (how it is oh-so-emotionally fulfilling yet not-always-so lucrative).

Bobby's blog is "Theater Is a Sport," and you'll be able to check out his response to these questions about The Writing Process, but you'll also find many thoughtful articles about the Theatre.  It's a great resource, especially if you are a drama teacher, a playwright, or simple a theater-geek.

Oh... I guess I should tag someone else for this blog-hop... Let me ask around and find out who is willing, and then I'll update this page and let you know about the next victim  participant.

So, without further ado, here are the responses to Bobby's Questions:


The big project looming in the distance is a comedic prequel to The Three Musketeers. I haven't decided what to call it... The Two Musketeers?

I am also tinkering with drafts of things, such as Camp Omigosh, the novel version of CSI: Neverland, and various picture books.

Oh, and I'm currently marketing a new project called CASTLE WRITEMORE!  It's a great handbook for young creative writers.  It's now available on Kindle!


I'm not sure, because I don't read enough of my peers to truly give an answer.  I do know that I take a great amount of pleasure in creating strange and hilarious situations... I think I can be very quirky yet I never attempt to alienate the audience.  Hopefully the best of my plays are feel strange yet universal.  One acquaintance watched one of my plays (which I had not only written but also directed) and she said, "I feel like I have been inside your mind for the last ninety minutes, and I don't know that I should have gone in there."  That has probably been the highest compliment I've ever received.

Does that answer the question?  No.  Oh well, let's move on...


It sounds cheesy, but I think it's important to bring laughter and happiness into the world.  Hopefully my plays bring a sense of joy to the audience as well as the performers.

When I was younger, I used to write about really dark subjects (assassins out for revenge, horror story knock-offs of Stephen King).  I had fun writing those, but the characters and situations were always very mediocre.  Then, sometime around the late 1990s, after watching one too many depressing tragedies on the news I thought to myself, there's enough bloodshed in real life.  Why not focus on happiness and humor?

Of course, it should be noted that I just finished writing a Downton Abbey / Walking Dead spoof in which many people are turned into zombies.  But it's all in good fun?  Who doesn't love British, early 19th century zombies?


For eight and a half months of the year I teach at Moorpark College.  During that time, I writing rather slowly.  I might finish one project (a one-act play, a chapter book, something small) per semester.  Then, during the summer break, as well as the one month we take off during the winter, I write as much as I possibly can!

As far as the process of writing, I develop the characters in my head, jot down notes, do a bit of pre-writing.  I figure out the conflict and the overall theme in advance.  Then, I might have a strong idea of how the story begins, a few key points along the way, and I almost always have a definite idea about how it ends.  There's a lot of stuff in the middle that comes along spontaneously.  Writing is usually more fun that way.

Well, that about wraps it up... Thank you, Bobby Keniston, for inviting me to play!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yes another new project...and questions...

I've had another creative outburst during the past few days.  The result has been a new one-act comedy about Butlers and Zombies.

I'm still wondering about marketing.  There are a lot of super-successful writers who have a knack for growing a community around their work.  John Green is the current best example of this, but there are many others -- both traditionally published and self-published.

I keep going back and forth... Should I devote a significant amount of time attempting to generate an audience? Or should I focus my all of my energy on creating stories and plays?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lots of Irons in the Fire

I've been a good little writer boy this year.

 My semester ended in the middle of May and I have been hard at work getting as much stuff out into the world before I have to start teaching summer school. I'm currently working on a one-act comedy... And I have also sent out lots of material. Now it's a matter of playing my least favorite game... the waiting game. And since I am waiting, I might as well tell you about what I am waiting for, so that you can vicariously anticipate the many rejections and/or acceptance letters that are coming my way.

 Thing #1: My agent sent a picture book at a publishing house... They replied favorably to the work (I hope to tell you more details about it, but can't give anything away yet). Now I am waiting to find out if they will make an offer. The news could arrive this week!

 Thing #2: I sent Heuer Publishing the novel version of CSI: NEVERLAND. I am hoping that in addition to publishing the play (which has been a drama class favorite for over five years) Heuer will launch my 25,000 word middle grade book as a fun companion piece. It's unlike anything they have published before, but the good folks at Heuer are innovative and daring -- so I have my fingers crossed that hey will proceed with the project.

 Thing #3: My agent has also submitted my quirky picture book "Two Kittens and a Purple Chicken." (I think it's currently at two publishing houses.) This is a fun, zany story -- and it's already gotten several very friendly rejection letters. Hopefully it will find a home.

 Thing #4: I have a historical comedy chapter book making the rounds among a few peers... And I am waiting to get feedback from them. I know it's missing something... But I'm not sure what. Hopefully my beta readers willoint me in the right direction.

 Thing #5: I submitted my unique stage version of "The Little Mermaid" to Eldridge Publishing. I already have a mermaid story with them ("Mermaid in Miami") so this project might be overkill. However, the show was a hit with audiences at the Canyon Theatre Guild, and I would love for the script to be circulated around the globe.

 Thing #6: Last week I was inspired to write a one act comedy called "Strangers." It's about the connections between two people who never meet. It delves into more serious terrain than I usually explore, so I already know it's an improtant piece in my development as a writer. I submitted the work to Playscripts. They have done well with my comedy, "How to Kiss a Girl," so I am hoping to place more scripts with them. However, it might take a while to get a response.. Three to six months!

 Thing #7: "Castle Writemore" has been a labor of love. It's a collection of writing prompts, all of which culminate into their own sort of story involving whimsical characters who live in a castle. It has been Available online for a few months now. (And guess how many books I've sold so far? Two!) However, I have created a new print version with space for young Writemorians to write and draw directly onto the page. This is my first time using CREATESPACE for a project. I ordered an examination copy, and now I am waiting for it to arrive.

 Thing #8: Today I finished a draft of a screenplay called "Skit Happens." Most of it is written by my best friend, Joshua Eklund. I have probably written about 15% of the script... Joshua's original draft came in at a whopping 188 pages, so it was my daunting task to streamline the work. It is now 122 pages. I sent the revised draft to him, and now I am waiting to see if we're still best friends. Hope you like it, Joshua!

 Thing #9: Last week, I wrote a picture book that explores the history of toys from around the globe. It's more than non-fiction, though. There's a story throughout, and I think it's kind of sweet, if I do say so myself. Well, this is the largest stockpile of projects I've ever had... All of them just waiting for some kind of response... And since I've gotten to NINE, I might as well make it an even TEN. Here goes...

 Thing #10: I have been blogging using blogspot for a while, but nobody has left a comment yet. So, in addition to all of the above responses, I am also waiting for my first commenter on this blog. So, what do you say? Leave a message, let me know who's out there!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Montana Jones and the Gymnasium of Doom

Last month I spent three solid days writing a very silly one act called "Montana Jones and the Gymnasium of Doom."  As the title suggests, it's a spoof of Indiana Jones movies.  It's also a fun romp through middle school.  I posted it as a royalty free play at plays.about.com... 

Yesterday, I discovered that a group of students and teachers created their own 30 minute video production that's rather fun.  I especially like the visual effects they added to the beginning.

Good work, Orange Charter School!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kids Play Presents "Two Thumbs Up"

(Note: The original title of this play is simply, "Thumbs Up" -- but I rather like the revised version)

I was pleased to discover that Kids Play Inc is performing one of my lesser known comedies... Lesser known perhaps because it is a bit obscure by today's standards.  My "Thumbs Up" play is a loving tribute to my favorite pair of bickering film critics, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.  As a kid, I loved to watch a TV show called "At the Movies." 

Here's some of the article:

KidsPlay, Inc. children’s theatre will present Two Thumbs Up by Wade Bradford, May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at the HJ Ricks Centre for the Arts.
Two Thumbs Up features a pair of rival movie critics, Edward Nickel (played by Jake Hobbs) and Michael Gilbert (played by Ian Cole), who open the show at celebrity auction where they compete in bidding on John Travolta’s white disco suit worn in the movie Saturday Night Fever. Nickel eventually outbids Gilbert for the prized artifact, but problems arise when the suit suddenly disappears. The rest of the play centers on which of the characters might have stolen the suit.  The prime suspects are the actors from the movies that Nickel and Gilbert have given unfavorable reviews to over the years.

To find out more... follow this link!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"How To Kiss a Girl" Goes International

A pleasant email notice arrived yesterday -- and it wasn't even an April Fool's prank.

My one act comedy has been selected by two international schools:

Canadian International School Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City. 


The American School Of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. 

Wow!  I don't know how each drama teacher stumbled upon my little play, How to Kiss a Girl, but I am honored that it will be entertaining audiences overseas.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"The Actor Games" coming to Aberdeen, South Dakota

From Aberdeen News:

“The main difference between ‘The Actor Games’ and the film that inspired it is that the districts and tributes represent different acting styles,” said director Brian T. Schultz in a news release. “The challenge has been maintaining the balance between creating an appropriate homage to the film and making sure the actors have an understanding of the physical, vocal and mental requirements of the different acting styles.”

Another difference between the play and film is the fate of the tributes that lose. Rather than dying, they suffer the fate of the Fallback Wheel.

Read the rest of the article...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Camp Omigosh: The Stage Play!

My new play is available at Eldridge Publishing!

Here is the synopsis:

Connor's summer is off to a rough start: the camp bus almost crashes, his cabin mates don't trust him, and the girls on the other side of the camp constantly outsmart him. But when he and his friends Tasha, Parker, and Kimberly investigate the mystery surrounding the "Ghost of Dead Billy," they begin a hilarious adventure that is worlds away from a typical campfire story. 

If you have been following my blog, then you already know that CAMP OMIGOSH is based upon a novel of the same name.  That novel will be coming out soon -- I'll have more details about that in April.  But if you'd like a sneak peek of the opening chapters, you can download the beginning at Amazon.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Re-Inventing Neverland...

One of my most successful plays is a fantasy comedy called CSI: Neverland. 

Normally, I remember the moment when I come up with my brilliant (or often not-so-brilliant) ideas.  My memory of this one, however, is murky.  I don't recall where I was, or who was around, when I came up with the idea.  But I do know that I had recently heard about yet another successful spin off: CSI: New York.  I had thought the first incarnation was a fine show, though I didn't watch many episodes.  And then when they made CSI: Miami, I thought they were already stretching the franchise.

But when I learned of the existence of the New York show, I thought to myself, what's next... CSI: Neverland?

And I ran with it.  Of course, it's not a spin-off.  It's a parody.  Several parodies, in fact.  I am spoofing the CSI-styled shows in which forensic experts use their scientific knowledge to solve crimes, and I am also lampooning some of my favorite characters from classic children's lit.

Now something new is brewing.  I recently finished a sequel (CSI: Wonderland) and I am currently working on a novel version of the Neverland play.  Oh, and my version isn't Crime Scene Investigation...

It's Crime Scene Imagination.  Like the aforementioned television show, I think there's potential for at least three locations... and hopefully I won't spread myself too thin.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Contest #3 - A History of Messy Rooms

This month I am celebrating the third anniversary of my picture book: "Why Do I Have to Make My Bed, or a History of Messy Rooms."

As the lengthy title suggests, it's a book that not only explores that oft asked question, but also delves into chore lore, examining the household tasks of children throughout the ages.

Here are some wonderful images by illustrator Johanna van der Sterre:

I love her work so much!  I was so thrilled my editor chose her as the book's illustrator. 

Now, let's get to the main event:  The new contest!


Create your own artwork that shows a child (or children) from the past, present, or future doing a chore that you would NOT want to do.  

The art may be drawn, colored, sculpted, computer generated, photoshopped, photographed -- or anything else you can think of... 

Submit your entries to: profwade@hotmail.com

(Facebook friends and Twitter followers can post their work online with the hashtag #historyofmessy ) 

Three winners will receive an autographed copy of Why Do I Have to Make My Bed?

CONTEST ENDS: March 20th, 2014

P.S. We will share submission on this blog and other social networks -- so if you don't want to sow off your work, let us know!

Teachers and Parents: There's also a handy curriculum guide available in PDF form.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coming Soon: "CSI: Wonderland"

I never thought that I would make a sequel to my hit play CSI: Neverland.  

But then around October 31st, my neighbors (who always throw the coolest Halloween-fest, complete with freaky costumes, set pieces, and special effects) created an experience called "Malice in Wonderland."

All of the beloved Lewis Carol creations took on very sinister forms... and that got me thinking about combining my twisted sense of humor with the world of Wonderland.  From there, it seemed only natural to include the Fairy Detectives from the first play and get them mixed up in a murder mystery in which the King of Hearts has lost his head.

Today, I am going through the script (hopefully) for the last time, tightening up a few scenes and streamlining the pace.  

On a side note, I cannot help but notice how quiet this blog is...

Hello.... (Echo: Hello... hello... hello...)

I really should work harder to become part of a community.  My wife says that I should post things that are more interactive, and not simply an advertisement for my creative projects.  If you, dear reader, have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.  (Although, I must say, that it can be a pain in the butt to leave comments on Blogger.  Who wants to decode those CAPTCHA doohickeys just to leave a few words of encouragement?)

Okay -- tangent over -- now back to revising CSI: Wonderland!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Welcome to "Castle Writemore"

My latest project is a creative/educational endeavor called CASTLE WRITEMORE.

Here's a little bit about it:

Join the Quest!
"Castle Writemore" by Wade Bradford is a collection of one hundred and twenty three writing prompts. They have been designed to foster creative writing, descriptive writing, personal reflection, brainstorming techniques, annotative skills, and paragraph development.
They are also designed to make writing fun. 
"Castle Writemore" is ideal for young writers from ages six to ten; however, any age group can have a splendid time visiting this imaginary world. 

One of my goals is to create a community of writers, both young and old, that share their responses to the prompts of Castle Writemore and similar projects.  Would you like to join this creative adventure?

Visit our Facebook Page, and stay tuned for a brand new Castlemore blog!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Macbeth Mixed Up" - Ten Minute Play by Wade Bradford

My good friends and editors at Heuer Plays just published my latest ten-minute play: Macbeth Mixed Up This is yet another comic exploitation of my idol William Shakespeare.

Ah, the poor Bard. You would think if I truly admire him, I would stop robbing his grave. But there's something about his marvelous characters that just won't allow me to cease my lampooning. I'm afraid I may always tomb raid that great Elizabethan playwright.

"It's a bit heavy on the eye of newt." If you are looking for thirty-minutes of fast-paced humor, might I recommend all three of my ten minute plays (each available at www.hitplays.com) : "Romeo Revised" "Hopeless Hamlet" and now "Macbeth Mixed Up"

Friday, February 7, 2014

"The Actor Games" is a "big hit" in Texas!

I just stumbled upon this flattering article about one of my latest one-act plays: "The Actor Games"

19 LDMS students braved the weather to travel to Ryan High School in Denton on Thursday, February 6, 2014, to perform in the district one act play contest.  After waiting for a judge stuck in slow traffic and late arriving schools, the students entertained the audience as they performedThe Actor Games to much laughter and applause.
The Actor Games is a one-act play written by Wade Bradford. It is a parody of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, but it is also a skit that explores the different acting styles through the history of the theater. Read the rest of the article... 

Lake Dallas Independent School, thank you so much for choosing my play.  I am honored to have such a terrific cast and crew bringing my stories to life on the stage.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

"Impressions of Yesterday" by Wade Bradford

My girls are homeschooled -- as you may or may not know. But that doesn't mean they spend all day cooped up in the house. Once or twice a week they attend classes at a charter school.

They take classes on art, geography, film making, and chess... And sometimes I help out by teaching theater and writing classes. About a year ago, they wanted to create a play that was about artists, adventurers, and inventors from the turn of the century (late 1800s - early 1900s). So, I toyed around with a few ideas and TADA -- I wrote "Impressions of Yesterday." The premise: two sisters discover an old trunk that is magically connected to an art studio in Paris, 1899. Out of the trunk pops Mary Cassatt, Monet, Degas, and many other iconic figures from the era.

  monet bridge

The play is available at Playscripts Inc.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Thumbelina" - Children's Play

Over the last couple years, my girls have appeared in several children's theatre shows at our beloved Canyon Theatre Guild.

This gave me a chance to reconnect with young actors and children's theater directors. Patti Finley said they were interested in doing a fairy tale story of Thumbelina, and she kindly allowed me to write the script. Writing for children's is a fun and challenging art form. You want the dialogue to be easy enough for the performers -- but you don't want to "talk down" to the audience or to the cast members.

As with Mermaid in Miami, I was adapting a Hans Christian Andersen story. And if you are an Andersen purists, you might not care for my adaptation. His story ends with Thumbelina marrying a fairy prince and living with the flower people -- and thereby never returning to the human woman that raised and nurtured. My tale of Thumbelina focuses on a little girl (very little) who is trying to find her place in the world -- and realizes that she and her mother need each other.

My good friend Fiona Perry starred as Thumbelina in the world premiere -- and my two daughters had some good parts too!

Here are some photos from Mrs. Stafford's drama class -- (She also directed JT and the Pirates -- thanks for your support, Mrs. Stafford!)
thumbelina thumbelina play thumbelina and mice

Thumbelina is available through Eldridge Plays.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Conflict" a One Act Play by Wade Bradford

My friend Joshua and I, when we were struggling artists (unlike now -- ha, ha), lived in Orange County without a car and without very much money to entertain ourselves. But we did have our roommate's video camera. So we would often make these strange yet funny videos.

One of them involved us just wandering the video store and using the produce for our prop comedy. We made up a Headless Horseman character who used a cantaloupe instead of a pumpkin -- and ever since then (even though I hate the taste) I've had an affinity for the fruit.

So -- if you've ever seen my play "Conflict" and wondered why the playwright created a story about a young man who is obsessed with a cantaloupe -- the source of his inner and outer conflicts -- now you know why. No symbolism or anything. Just a fruit I admire.

"Conflict" was a script I wrote specifically for the Repertory East Playhouse. I entered their Page 2 Stage competition -- and happily the script won! "Conflict" was produce and directed by a top-notch crew -- and performed by a cast of talented actors. It was a joy to watch. "Conflict" runs about 25 minutes, and like some of my other shorter plays, it has done quite well at drama student competitions.

"Conflict" is available at Heuer Plays.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Tuesdays with Mummy" by Wade Bradford

Years ago, I was talking with TimBen Boydston at the Canyon Theatre Guild. He mentioned that he had wanted to do a Mummy play for Halloween, and that there weren't any good scripts -- comedy scripts -- that explored the Mummy legend.

So, I undertook the project, wrote a script, gave it to the Canyon Theatre, and nobody liked it very much. But that never stops me. I took some notes, tightened it up, added some jokes, and sent it off to several play publishing companies. Eldridge liked it, however, they already have a Mummy script -- "Mummy Dearest", I believe. But, the newcomer play company Big Dog Plays scooped up the project.

I love the cover art:

Tuesdays with Mummy

The show runs about sixty minutes -- and I've been tinkering with an extended version (although that project has been turning into something very different -- but more on that later).

Find out more about Tuesdays with Mummy.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"CSI: Neverland" by Wade Bradford

If you didn't already know, I am madly in love with children's literature.  That's why I am so thankful that I have children, so I don't look odd when I'm reading Dr. Seuss or The Hobbit or Junie B. Jones.
I've always loved stories such as Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and of course more modern kid's books such as the Harry Potter series.  But you know what I've never liked?  CSI television shows.  It started off with just one show -- then they spun off with CSI Miami and CSI New York, and some CSI Navy show or something.  And I thought it was a ridiculous amount of over-kill worthy of being lampooned. 

So, that was the origin of CSI:Neverland.

So far this has become my most popular show -- mainly because I full-on embrace silliness.  And I had such a fun time creating the Peter character -- this obnoxious, fun-loving man-child that has unlimited energy.  I've had the pleasure of watching several schools perform the play -- and each time, the director did a brilliant job of casting the right kid to play the lead role. 
Check out this awesome commercial that some students posted on YouTube:

And here's a brief scene which someone kindly posted:

CSI: Neverland is available at Heuer Plays.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Romeo Revised & Hopeless Hamlet

In 2007 I had the pleasure of playing Mercutio at the Canyon Theatre Guild's production of "Romeo and Juliet."  As a teacher, I have often enjoyed reading the Bard's work aloud.  However, being able to actually perform it on stage was a transcendent experience. 

During the run of the show, I began to create a spoof of the play's ending.  I thought, what would happen if after Romeo drinks the poison, and Juliet supposedly kills herself, what if Romeo woke up and wasn't really dead?  From there, I concocted a ten-minute play that might be the funniest solid ten minutes I've ever written.

Heuer Publishing scooped up the script.  They have a growing library of ten-minute plays -- and so I was encouraged to create another one.  So, I came up with "Hopeless Hamlet."  The premise of this ten-minute gem is that a student production of "Hamlet" goes horribly wrong when the ghost comes down with stage fright.

Both shows have been popular at regional and state-wide drama competitions.  And I'm proud to say, "Romeo Revised" has won several awards!

Check out Romeo Revised...

and get preview of Hopeless Hamlet.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Snow White in the 70s" by Wade Bradford

This is a very funky play.

It's one of those shows where I suddenly came up with the title first, and the rest of the play wrote itself.  I had written more than my share of princess stories:

Sleeping Beauty and the Beast

Cinderella in New York

Mermaid in Miami

I started to realize that I was retelling fairy tales but setting them in a particular time and place.  So why not those Disco Dancin' 1970s?

The show is a great deal of fun.  It's not a musical, but drama teachers and performers are encouraged to include dance numbers if they wish to get down and boogie -- which I highly recommend. 

Writing the Dwarves was the most enjoyable challenge, because I wanted them each to have their own 70s flavor.  My favorite: the "Grumpy" dwarf is named Nixon.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Much Ado Out West" by Wade Bradford

After the "Midsummer" musical, and I was itching to create another one. I began composing songs for a very silly cowboy musical. The original plot was about unlikely western con-artists who pose as masked heroes -- you know, like the lone ranger. I think I wrote about eight songs for the show -- some of them pretty good. But I had a problem -- I didn't have a talented composer anymore. Rachel was living in Orange County and had a very busy schedule.

So, without someone to help me with the orchestration, I began to think of other ways of telling a western story. One of those ways became Cowboys and Idiots -- the cowboy movie Joshua and I made back in 2004. Another story was forming in my mind simultaneously. I took the basic storyline of "Much Ado About Nothing" and set it in the old west at the end of the Civil War. It's a fun, battle-of-the-sexes comedy that has been well-received amongst school and community theaters.
much ado out west

The world premiere of "Much Ado Out West" (published by Eldridge Plays) took place at the Fresno Christian High School (pictured above). But teen-agers aren't the only ones to perform the show. A group of senior citizens performed "Much Ado Out West" for their theater group in Independence, Missouri.

You can also catch a glimpse of the most violent square dance since the time Bugs Bunny abused those poor hillbillies.

What a copy of the script or licensing information?  Visit Eldridge Plays.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mermaid in Miami

I was obsessed with Disney's "The Little Mermaid" when I was a teenager.

I know, that sounds a little fishy. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.) Seriously though, I thought Ariel was adorable.

I had quite the animated crush on the two-dimensional mermaid. But as much as I loved the Disney cartoon, I also knew that it did not follow-through on the original ending. So, I began thinking of ways to revisit Hans Christian Andersen.

The result: Mermaid in Miami. On the one hand, this script is just as fun and silly as my other ones. But there are other things going on in this children's play as well. For one, I based some of the conflict off of the crisis over Elia Gonzalez -- the little boy who's mother died trying to get them to Florida.

The boy fell in love with his American relatives, but was then returned to his father in Cuba. Also in the play, an old-man-man-and-the-sea Ernest Hemmingway character. And finally, Breeze, the mermaid -- she experiences a sad, but hopefully uplifting ending that is similar (but not entirely faithful) to the original story.

Actor Keith Coogan performed one of the monologues from the play. Check it out:

Interested in reading the script? Visit Eldridge Plays.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cinderella in New York

So, in 2000, Josh and I directed out last show for the Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera. That was "A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical." And, although it wasn't as financially successful as "A Pirate's Story," it was the best show we ever made.
And now, I had not only a wife, but a beautiful baby girl. Josh was married -- and I was starting to teach my college classes. The era of directing children's plays (especially in Orange County) had faded. But I wasnt too sad about this because our last show had been such a satisfying way to end our directing days.

But, I was still anxious to write children's plays. Eldridge had published four plays, and I wanted to keep it going. So, I started kicking around ideas for a new show -- not to direct, just to write. Then, Sept. 11th happened. For months afterward all eyes, thoughts, and prayers were on New York City. And that's what prompted me to write "Cinderella in New York."

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't write some type of tribute or homage to the victims of 9/11 -- my plays are too silly and irreverent to ever serve as a memorial for something as tragic as that day. However, after Sept. 11th, I kept thinking of how much I loved New York City, and how sad it made me to think of the city so wounded. So, that led to thoughts about the different eras of New York, and the different struggles the city had undergone. And eventually, I started retelling the story of Cinderella set in Manhattan during the Great Depression.

My friend and former drama student Tracy Buffington directed the show -- oh and Josh appeared during one performance. But this was the first show that I wrote and had no directorial stake in the project. I just showed up and watched the show and had a great time.

Learn more about Cinderella in New York.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Midsummer Night's Dream - The Musical

Charles Dickens once compared his books to children. He indicated that deep down, parents have a favorite child. And as to his novels, this is what he said:

"I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield."

Well, I disagree with him about playing favorites with your kids. In case my girls are reading this, I love you both equally and absolutely! You're both my favorite!

But I do have a favorite play -- at least so far. And her name is "A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical." This labor of love began around early 1999. I had been finishing up my Masters at CSUN. I had been married for a few years. I hadn't directed a children's play since 1996. My friend Josh and I were kind of sad that we were entering the grown-up world of paying bills and holding down a career.

Then, Josh and I went to a week long computer training seminar. During the day we learned about Macromedia Flash (the program I use to make my web pages -- for better or worse). Since we had a lot of free time in the evening, we started to brainstorm about another musical. We started to discuss Shakespeare's work, and pretty soon, I started cranking out songs for Midsummer. And, we came up with a really funny aspect of the play --

Puck is the one who decides that she's sick of speaking in iambic pentameter. So she uses her magic to make the characters speak in a modern day manner, with some songs to boot. Then, about 30 minutes into the play, the ghost of William Shakespeare rushes the stage and announces that he has been spinning in his grave ever. Shakespeare and Puck become this hysterical pair. The show transcends typical adaptations and the music, in my not-so-humble opinion, is awesome.

Our musical director was Rachel Greenlee, and she did something very brave. She listened to me sing (if you want to call it that) into a tape recorder, and during the course of three weeks, we created one song after another. I think we added a new song in the final two weeks of rehearsal.

And "Midsummer' became my first, and so far only published musical. It has been performed all over the country, at various middle schools, high schools and community theater. (And I hope people continue to perform it.)

Of course, maybe I shouldn't be so proud of the show. After all, it wouldn't be nearly as good if it wasn't for Shakespeare. Thanks Will!

Learn more about Wade's Plays

Theater Video Game Mash-Ups: Contest Winners!

Last week, we launched our very first creative contest...

To celebrate my new one-act play, StageCraft - The Video Game, I asked Facebook friends and fans of my humble little blog to create mash-ups of video games and Broadway shows. 

Well, playwright Ken Preuss and his son Bennet started with one funny image, and they didn't stop there. They generated nearly a dozen hilarious mash-ups, and totally won our first-ever contest.

Check out their work:

I must say, seeing a fully armored Carol Channing blasting space aliens does bring a smile to my face.

Ken and Bennet have won a signed copy of my play "StageCraft" and I am also tossing in one of my favorite old video games (a relic by today's standards that will hopefully work on their computer).  Have you played this before?

Details about the next contest are coming soon!  Congrats again to our first-ever winners!

PS... I thought the contest was such a fun idea, I made something myself.  Here's my meager contribution:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Short Story Analysis - English 1B


English 1B – Short Story Analysis


Responding to the literary works from The Seagull Reader: Stories, write an original +4 page essay that focuses on one of the following prompts:

A) Compare / contrast two characters from a single short story – or compare/contrast two characters from two different stories. In your analysis, consider some of the following: character motivation, choices, reactions, social environment, emotional growth (or lack thereof). It is up to the student to create a focused thesis statement. (Tip: Develop a specific opinion based upon your compare/contrast analysis.)

B) Identify and evaluate the themes from two different short stories. Compare / contrast the messages.  Argue whether or not readers can gain any valuable “life lessons” from the story. Should we embrace or reject the story’s philosophical message(s)?

Typed / Double Spaced / MLA Format

Students who incorporate quotes and/or paraphrased material from other sources (aside from the stories) must cite the material and present it on the Works Cited page.


Peer Review: Jan. 29th

Final Draft Due:  Feb. 5th

(Bring a Hard Copy to class AND send the essay to my email: wbradford@vcccd.edu )

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Vahalla" or "It's a Viking's Life"

I had published a couple cool plays with Eldridge Press -- "Aesop's Hop" and "Jt and the Pirates." I sent an email to the editor -- I think it was Chris Angermann at the time. Anyway, I asked him if there was anything in particular they were looking for. Chris said that they had some Greek Mythology stuff, but they didn't have anything about Norse Mythology

Well, I love all sorts of Mythos -- and while I prefer the Greek legends, I was in love with this book by Edgar d'Aulaires. "The d'Aulaires Book of Morse Myths" contained wildly imaginative illustrations and engrossing tales of mythic Scandinavia.

norse mythos

So, right away, I began to create "Vahalla." It was a comic merging of many of my favorite Norse myths. It had Baldur and Loki and Giants and monsters... and a few of my own characters, such as a talking horse named Gunther. And now here's where it gets weird -- if it wasn;t weird enough already. The story is entirely patterned off of my favorite Christmas movie: "It's a Wonderful Life."

I thought it was brilliant. Eldridge liked it too, so they published it. And for some reason it has only been performed once. So, to the drama club who is ahead of their time, I tip my Viking helmet off to Woodland Park Middle School, in Woodland Park Colorado.

Uff Da!

Learn more about Wade's plays.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

JT and the Pirates


I loved working on this show.  Back in the summer of 1995, if memory serves, my friend and fellow Children's Theater Director undertook a truly crazy project.

We had already directed a few children's theater productions.  We started with "The Princess and the Magic Pea."  This was a typically dull children's play -- and the show was co-directed by another buddy of ours, Tim.  He knew that the script was lacking, to say the least, so he asked me to add a couple jokes here and there.  (And I believe we tossed in some songs from "Once Upon a Mattress.") 

Anyway, we pulled the show together, and had a fun time in the process.

Or actually, if I remember more correctly, we were miserable during the process, but had such a good time after the show opened, we conveniently forgot about all the hard stuff.  Anyway, long story longer, Josh and I directed subsequent children's shows, but this time, we wrote our own stuff.  The first was "Aladdin and Company," followed by "Sleeping Beauty and the Beast."  The shows were successful enough that we wanted to become co-producers.  Instead of being paid a stipend, we wanted to risk our fee for whatever profit we made.

And that's when Josh and I came up with the idea to create a Pirate Musical.  And oh, it was gloriously ambitious.  It was called, "A Pirate's Story."  And we had lots of great kids.  Lots of funny characters... and about four too many songs (a couple slow ones really should have been cut -- but that;s show-biz).  "A Pirate's Story" wasn't perfect -- it needed some trimming here and there, but we didn't have the heart to cut the kids' parts since they had worked so hard.  But flaws and all, it was our most financially profitable show.     

Eventually, when I my work began to be published by Eldridge Plays, I revised "A Pirate's Story."  I took away the songs, making it a non-musical. (A single tear rolls down his cheek.)  Actually, I did more than take away the songs -- I rewrote almost every line of dialogue and trimmed lots of scenes, and took away characters, and added other scenes.  This was actually a breakthrough for me, because before this manuscript, I HATED revising and would avoid it as much as possible. 

I made a script called, "Jenny and the Pirates."  The folks at Eldridge loved it, but liked the idea of creating a more masculine title.  And so, it became "JT and the Pirates."  Of all the shows I've written, it's probably one of the most original. It's not a spoof of anything.  It's not an adaptation.  It's quite unique, if I say so myself.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, even though I took out the songs, I kept a River Dance!

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Sahara Nights" by Wade Bradford

A few years ago the Hilton High School Drama Club presented one of my plays, Sahara Nights. Here's a publicity photo from the school:

Sahara Night Photo

This was a fun play to create. The first version of it was written in the early 90s... I'm thinking 1993 or 1994. My buddy Josh and I had been directing children's plays for the Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera. It was originally called "Aladdin and Company" -- it had some great music composed by Katie Luekens and myself. But a few of the songs were spoofs. We had a little number called "Hey Dude!" instead of the Beatles' "Hey Jude."

When I began selling my plays to Eldridge, I revised "Aladdin and Company" and removed the songs. (Unfortunately, they weren't looking for musicals at the time). The result is a fast paced show ideal for middle grade students. there are lots of parts and a lot of laughs.

Sahara Nights

Sahara Nights features a story about a bored sultan thinking Sahara Scheherazade is auditioning for 'royal entertainer' but she's really trying to get Aladdin out of the dungeon. A quick-thinker, Scheherazade creates captivating stories to gain time ~ "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" becomes "Ali Baba and the Forty-Niners;" "The Adventures of Sinbad" becomes a Star-Trek-inspired spoof with Captain Kork and Mr. Spork; and "The Emperor's New Clothes" deals with the King Himself, Elvis and his advisors, the Beatles. Soon everyone in the kingdom is enthralled with her tales, but will they be enough to save Aladdin and the other prisoners?? Sahara Nights by Wade Bradford is produced by special arrangement with Eldridge Publishing Co.

Recently I noticed that a drama teacher had posted some YouTube video of Sahara Nights. I'm assuming this is a rehearsal, since there aren't very many people in the audience.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [?]

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 20th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play, and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix—the villagers pronounced this name “Dellacroy”—eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys, and the very small children rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.

Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother’s grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.

The lottery was conducted—as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program—by Mr. Summers, who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him because he had no children and his wife was a scold. When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called. “Little late today, folks. ” The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three-legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool, and when Mr. Summers said, “Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?” there was a hesitation before two men. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything’s being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.

Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers’ coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves’s barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.

There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up–of heads of families, heads of households in each family, members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory, tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this p3rt of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box, he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.

Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd. “Clean forgot what day it was,” she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. “Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,” Mrs. Hutchinson went on, “and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running. ” She dried her hands on her apron, and Mrs. Delacroix said, “You’re in time, though. They’re still talking away up there. “

Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said, in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, “Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson,” and “Bill, she made it after all. ” Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. “Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie. ” Mrs. Hutchinson said, grinning, “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?” and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson’s arrival.

“Well, now. ” Mr. Summers said soberly, “guess we better get started, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work. Anybody ain’t here?”

“Dunbar. ” several people said. “Dunbar. Dunbar. “

Mr. Summers consulted his list. “Clyde Dunbar. ” he said. “That’s right. He’s broke his leg, hasn’t he? Who’s drawing for him?”

“Me. I guess,” a woman said, and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. “Wife draws for her husband. ” Mr. Summers said. “Don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?” Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered.

“Horace’s not but sixteen yet. ” Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. “Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year. “

“Right. ” Sr. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, “Watson boy drawing this year?”

A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. “Here,” he said. “I m drawing for my mother and me. ” He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said things like “Good fellow, lack. ” and “Glad to see your mother’s got a man to do it. “

“Well,” Mr. Summers said, “guess that’s everyone. Old Man Warner make it?”

“Here,” a voice said, and Mr. Summers nodded.

A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. “All ready?” he called. “Now, I’ll read the names–heads of families first–and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?”

The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, “Adams. ” A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. “Hi. Steve. ” Mr. Summers said, and Mr. Adams said. “Hi. Joe. ” They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd, where he stood a little apart from his family, not looking down at his hand.

“Allen. ” Mr. Summers said. “Anderson… Bentham. “

“Seems like there’s no time at all between lotteries any more. ” Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.

“Seems like we got through with the last one only last week. “

“Time sure goes fast” Mrs. Graves said.

“Clark… Delacroix. “

“There goes my old man. ” Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.

“Dunbar,” Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said. “Go on, Janey,” and another said, “There she goes. “

“We’re next. ” Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand, turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.

“Harburt… Hutchinson. “

“Get up there, Bill,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, and the people near her laughed.

“Jones. “

“They do say,” Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, “that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery. “

Old Man Warner snorted. “Pack of crazy fools,” he said. “Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon. ‘ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a lottery,” he added petulantly. “Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody. “

“Some places have already quit lotteries,” Mrs. Adams said.

“Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools. “

“Martin. ” And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. “Overdyke… Percy. “

“I wish they’d hurry,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. “I wish they’d hurry.”

“They’re almost through,” her son said.

“You get ready to run tell Dad,” Mrs. Dunbar said.

Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, “Warner. “

“Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery,” Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. “Seventy-seventh time. “

“Watson. ” The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, “Don’t be nervous, Jack,” and Mr. Summers said, “Take your time, son. “

“Zanini. “

After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers, holding his slip of paper in the air, said, “All right, fellows. ” For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. “Who is it?,” “Who’s got it?,” “Is it the Dunbars?,” “Is it the Watsons?” Then the voices began to say, “It’s Hutchinson. It’s Bill,” “Bill Hutchinson’s got it. “

“Go tell your father,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.

People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!”

“Be a good sport, Tessie,” Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, “All of us took the same chance. “

“Shut up, Tessie,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“Well, everyone,” Mr. Summers said, “that was done pretty fast, and now we’ve got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time. ” He consulted his next list. “Bill,” he said, “you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?”

“There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance!”

“Daughters draw with their husbands’ families, Tessie,” Mr. Summers said gently. “You know that as well as anyone else. “

“It wasn’t fair,” Tessie said.

“I guess not, Joe,” Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. “My daughter draws with her husband’s family; that’s only fair. And I’ve got no other family except the kids. “

“Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it’s you,” Mr. Summers said in explanation, “and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that’s you, too. Right?”

“Right,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“How many kids, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked formally.

“Three,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“There’s Bill, Jr. , and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me. “

“All right, then,” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you got their tickets back?”

Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. “Put them in the box, then,” Mr. Summers directed. “Take Bill’s and put it in. “

“I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that. “

Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box, and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground, where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.

“Listen, everybody,” Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.

“Ready, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked, and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children, nodded.

“Remember,” Mr. Summers said, “take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave. ” Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. “Take a paper out of the box, Davy,” Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper. ” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you hold it for him. ” Mr. Graves took the child’s hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.

“Nancy next,” Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box “Bill, Jr. ,” Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. “Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly, and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.

“Bill,” Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.

The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, “I hope it’s not Nancy,” and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.

“It’s not the way it used to be,” Old Man Warner said clearly. “People ain’t the way they used to be. “

“All right,” Mr. Summers said. “Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave’s. “

Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill, Jr. , opened theirs at the same time, and both beamed and laughed, turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.

“Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.

“It’s Tessie,” Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. “Show us her paper, Bill. “

Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.

“All right, folks. ” Mr. Summers said. “Let’s finish quickly. “

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. “Come on,” she said. “Hurry up. “

Mrs. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said, gasping for breath. “I can’t run at all. You’ll have to go ahead and I’ll catch up with you. “

The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.

Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. “It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, “Come on, come on, everyone. ” Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.