This unusual play with its shattering last scene has proven so successful it is probably winning more contests presently than any other short play. Published originally in The New Yorker magazine, it produced an unprecedented reaction, and this dramatization captures the story that has become an internationally known classic. Like the story, the play starts as people are assembling for the lottery. What family will it be this time? Which member? Only gradually do we begin to suspect the nature of the lottery as the play builds swiftly to its crucial and moving climax. The tension and thrill of the play are built into its very structure.
- Type of Show One-act Play
- Product Code L31000
- Cast Size 13
- Min. Royalty Rate $50/perf
- Cost $8.95
- Approx. Run Time 25 min
- Target Audience Middle School | High School
- Performing Group Middle School | High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre
- Genre Drama
- ISBN(13) 9780871292643
- "Doing The Lottery was a challenge for my kidsÑa good challenge because they knew where they would have to go by the end of the piece."
- Review by Tom McEntee, Fresno Christian Schools, Fresno, Calif.
- "My students really enjoyed this production. Our English faculty also enjoyed the selection so they could tie it in directly with their curriculum."
- Review by Randy Burse, Gallatin High School, Gallatin, Tenn.
- "This play is an excellent selection for a student directing project: the pervasive mood and challenging theme provide the perfect forum for exploring beats, characters, and clear climax of a dramatic piece."
- Review by Lauren Tobiason, Hammond High School, Columbia, Md.
- "... From a casual beginning that is light hearted to a very dramatic and intense ending, The Lottery has it all. The characters are challenging. Before the audience knew it they had been caught up in a play that they didn't want any part of. It shows you just how deep traditions run."
- Review by Neil Witte, RTR High School, Russell, Minn.
- "This icon of American theater was ideal for our middle-school actors. It prompted much discussion about choice and free will. Perfect for today's teens."
- Review by Carol Schmiedecke, Brookside/Hillside Music & Art, Allendale, N.J.
- "This is a great adaptation of the classic Jackson story. It is perfect for theatres working with limited budgets."
- Review by Shawn Sears, Doral Academy, Miami, Fla.
- "An excellent play for a simple production! The essence of Shirley Jackson's story is perfectly captured in this one-act play."
- Review by Meredith Kahn, H.F.C. Humanities Society, Philadelphia, PA
- "The 8th graders had a hard time at first grasping the concept. It was exciting to see the light go on and see them able to relate this to Anne Frank whose diaries they study."
- Review by Drama Department: Kay, Mandalay Middle School, Westminster, CO
- "The Lottery is a fun show to do. Lots of opportunity for comic work with an ending that leaves audiences' jaws agape!"
- Review by Christine Stone, Cobourg D.C.I. East, Cobourg, ON
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "If students are wanting to add a comical element, they can't go too far. Belva is key to the finish. Plus, Tessie must be seen as a victim."
- Tip by Tom McEntee, Fresno Christian Schools, Fresno, Calif.
- "The bare stage worked well for us with a limited budget. We used gobos to suggest tree branches in summer that took on a menacing look at the end."
- Tip by Randy Burse, Gallatin High School, Gallatin, Tenn.
- "Tie it to contemporary issues through dialogue with the audience (example: in a talk-back session). This play has many disturbing themes that resonate in daily interaction at work, home, and the larger culture we live in."
- Tip by Kathleen Bagby Coate, Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, Iowa
- "We used a very stark, lifeless set to mirror the unthinking townsfolk."
- Tip by Cathie Lutgen, Enderlin High School, Enderlin, N.D.
- "Having "extras" on stage as townspeople really brought the stage to life and gave a realistic sense of excitement and anticipation."
- Tip by Lauren Tobiason, Hammond High School, Columbia, Md.
- "I turned the stoning scene toward the audience. When the stoning started, the lights changed and the characters acted silently in slo-mo. When Tessle died all went back to normal (lights, sound). The audience thought this very effective."
- Tip by Heather Klug, Park Center Senior High, Brooklyn Park, Minn.
- "Sometimes the very end is too intense for younger audiences. We called a "black-out" as the townspeople reached to encirle and "murder" Tessie. Very effective."
- Tip by Carol Schmiedecke, Brookside/Hillside Music & Art, Allendale, N.J.
- "We found it very effective to fade to yellow lighting when the people begin to throw stones. Made it seem more ominous. Also, the rocks were best when made from painted sponges."
- Tip by Alicia Bradley, Crandon High School, Crandon, Wis.
- "We are doing the show in 3/4 thrust. I suggest really drawing the audience in. Lots of school English classes read this story."
- Tip by W. Sims, Marvin Ridge High School, Waxhaw, N.C.