Elephant's Graveyard (Full Length Version)

by  George Brant

Full Length Play, Drama  /  10m, 3f

Winner! 2008 Keene Prize for Literature

"The script—based on a true story about a traveling circus that, in 1916, stumbled into gory disaster in a muddy Tennessee town—is, like the best art, microscopically specific with echoes that radiate outward…

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Elephant's Graveyard (Full Length Version)

by  George Brant

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Elephant's Graveyard (Full Length Version)

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    10m, 3f
  • Duration


    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades


    KCACTF: Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival New Play
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Elephant's Graveyard is the true tale of the tragic collision of a struggling circus and a tiny town in Tennessee, which resulted in the only known lynching of an elephant. Set in September of 1916, the play combines historical fact and legend, exploring the deep-seated American craving for spectacle, violence and revenge.
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  • Winner! 2008 Keene Prize for Literature


"The script—based on a true story about a traveling circus that, in 1916, stumbled into gory disaster in a muddy Tennessee town—is, like the best art, microscopically specific with echoes that radiate outward across time. It conjures a world with its own atmosphere and terrible internal logic. It's mesmerizing... symphonic in its emotional variations on a tragic theme. Elephant's Graveyard buzzes with truth about the consequences of misunderstanding, the invisible but enormous gap between artists and their audiences, and the infernal beauty of vaudeville." - The Stranger, Seattle

"A theatrical masterpiece." – Columbia City Paper

"The most striking production in the (NSDF) festival." – Times of London

"Deeply moving...has the audience in stitches at the open and tears at the close." – TheSunCoast.com


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Outdoor
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance



  • Time Period: 1910s / WWI
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting: 1916. The set may be an empty stage or an abstract collision of the worlds of the circus, town and railroad. This collision need not be pretty.
  • Additional Features: No intermission, Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)


10m, 3f
RINGMASTER – obsessed with the bottom line
TRAINER – loves his work
BALLET GIRL – a showgirl in control
TOUR MANAGER – bit of a bully
STRONGMAN – a proud muscleman from Europe’s far-off shores
CLOWN – a comedian with an inferiority complex
DRUMMER – keeps the beat
HUNGRY TOWNSPERSON – African-American, a steel-trap memory
MARSHAL – keeps the peace
MUDDY TOWNSPERSON – a haunted widow
PREACHER – doggedly hopeful
STEAM SHOVEL OPERATOR – looking for escape
YOUNG TOWNSPERSON – excitable dreamer
ENGINEER – confident Time is on his side
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Cross gender casting
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Multicultural casting
  • Room for Extras

Casting Notes

Non-speaking musicians may be added to the production, particularly a Drummer and Guitarist. Roles may be played by any race or gender except when specified.



George Brant

George Brant’s plays include Grounded, Marie and Rosetta, Elephant’s Graveyard, The Mourners’ Bench, Into the Breeches!, Any Other Name, Salvage, Grizzly Mama, Three Voyages of the Lobotomobile, and Dark Room. An Affiliate Writer at the Playwrights' Center, his scripts have been produced internationally by the Public T ...

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Elephant's Graveyard was first produced by the University of Texas at Austin at the Oscar Brockett Theatre in Austin, Texas on November 16, 2007. The director was Laura Kepley. Elephant's Graveyard had its non-Equity premiere at the Trus

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