A full-length play written and performed by John Hardy
Directed by Katy Brown

Production Details

A single actor plays sixteen roles. The set is simple: two chairs; a table; two benches (supplied by the production). Lighting and sound are equally simple. The play can be performed in two acts, approximately fifty minutes each, with one fifteen minute intermission.


A man of West Texas longs for fatherhood, his only ambition. His attempts to realize this ambition are stifled in his romantic life, and rejected by the local adoption agency. He retreats to a small patch of prairie left to him by his long gone mother and father. Here, he meets the rattlesnake, and immerses himself in its world finding a comfort and belonging that eludes him in the outside world. He worships the rattlesnakes and uses their skins for crafting hatbands, belt buckles and other items for sale.

Recalling the lessons of a boyhood acquaintance, an old black woman, he learns to cook the meat of the rattlesnake and becomes a noted chef. His newfound celebrity takes him as far as Paris where he meets a Parisian woman who opens her heart to him. He gives over to her but cannot release himself from his bond with the rattlesnake.

He abruptly returns to Texas and enters a densely populated den of rattlesnakes where he sleeps knowing that the den will become his tomb. As the day wakes he is alive and alone. He emerges from the den and returns to his living quarters to find that the Parisian woman has followed him. She tells him of the child he has fathered that lives inside of her.

The play encompasses thirty years in flashback and takes place in various locations in West Texas and later, Paris.

Production Fees

Single performances; short runs or extended runs. Fee: $750 for single performances with discounts for additional performances. Extended runs of a week or longer are negotiable at reasonable rates. A copy of the play or excerpts from the play are available for review upon request.


Runtime: Approx. 100 minutes
Cast size: 1 actor


"John Hardy's...Rattlesnake...a groundbreaking creation...the first classic of the new century." — Sean O'Sullivan, Theatre Columnist, A! Magazine For the Arts

"Rattlesnake is a remarkable work...beautifully written and beautifully acted..." — John Crutchfield, Theatre Critic, Asheville Mountain Express

"Rattlesnake is sinuous, mean theatre; don't miss it!" — Rob Weisfeld, Theatre Critic, The Abingdon Virginian

"Brilliant writing in the most original script I know... You have never seen anything like it... sixteen characters, a small cavalcade, come to life before our eyes, distinctly and convincingly... The entire piece is one immense poem with passages of lyric beauty given in plain everyday speech. It's a marvelous use of language, a lot of wit, much rich characterization. The performance is remarkable..." — Sean O'Sullivan, Theatre Columnist, A! Magazine For the Arts