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Bad Seed

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews

Now reissued – William March's 1954 classic thriller that's as chilling, intelligent and timely as ever before. This paperback reissue includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested reading and more.

What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This is the question at the center of William march's clas

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Paperback, 84 pages
Published June 1st 1956 by Dramatists Play Service
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A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee WilliamsDeath of a Salesman by Arthur MillerThe Crucible by Arthur MillerThe Glass Menagerie by Tennessee WilliamsWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
Best American Plays
171st out of 196 books — 285 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Crucible by Arthur Miller
Best Play Ever
355th out of 432 books — 389 voters


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Community Reviews

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Garrett Zecker
Sep 15, 2015 Garrett Zecker rated it liked it
Based on the national book award winning novel and the film of the same name, The Bad Seed is a play that explores how young evil can manifest itself, in what ways environment makes a difference in development, and the very real phenomenon of childhood murder cases.

While I have not read the book and have seen the movie only once many years ago, I picked the play up for my preparation to play Reginald Tasker. The play does have a significantly different ending than the film, likely due to the be
...more
Greg Kerestan
Feb 03, 2016 Greg Kerestan rated it really liked it
It's hard to deny that "Bad Seed" (sometimes "The Bad Seed") has its charm. What that charm is, or why it's there, is a little harder to explain. Part noir, part melodrama, part high camp Shirley Temple homage, this play about a child sociopath shouldn't be as cute or as chilling as it is. But somehow, the balance between the ridiculous and the horrible comes down on the side of terror more often than the side of kitsch, so the show stands on its own two feet without tap-dancing.
Cybelle
Oct 28, 2013 Cybelle rated it it was amazing
I would give this play 5 out of 5 stars. Although it is very similar to the novel, it has been dramatized by Maxwell Anderson. The theme is heartlessness. Rhoda Penmark has no qualms about killing anyone who gets in her way, including Claude Daigle, a boy from her school. While she appears to be a perfect little girl, she actually has no pity or empathy. In contrast, her mother, Christine, is very kind and loving, and feels immensely sorry for Mrs. Daigle when Claude died. Christine goes into a ...more
Kristin Koski
Mar 01, 2014 Kristin Koski rated it really liked it
Shelves: somedaydirect
A gripping tale that asks questions about why we are the way we are and what we should do about it. The form and style definitely fit in with 1950s dramas (each scene's action rises until a dramatic climax ends it with a blackout and the stage directions reflect the stage manager's notes from a successful production), but the theme seems beyond its years. If you know a talented elementary-aged actress, find a way to produce this show for her.
Natalie
Oct 28, 2015 Natalie rated it liked it
They put this on my sophomore year in high school for the fall play. Did not get a part. The overall story is intriguing, but I like to have a person to root for in a book or play.
Heather
Feb 28, 2014 Heather rated it liked it
Basic play about a snobby child killing another student over a handwriting award. Seemed a bit contrived at parts, but that may just be their social expression.
Mariah
Dec 10, 2015 Mariah rated it it was ok
It would appear Maxwell Anderson has amnesia. His writing is redundant; he uses the same exact wording he used not three sentences ago. He also has a bad habit of forgetting contractions exist, which wouldn't be so bad, were the play not set in the South where such wording is unusual. Lastly, he throws in long words at random times. It almost seems as if he decided he didn't sound smart enough, so he picked up a thesaurus and replaced random words with whatever he found. It's rather annoying!
Ipodshuffle266 Meredith
Apr 01, 2012 Ipodshuffle266 Meredith rated it really liked it
Although this was an assigned book for school, I found myself really enjoying the play. Whenever I come across a character who is extremely manipulative, cunning, or psychopathic, I really can't help but love them instantaneously. Thus was the case with Rhoda. I adored her for using her adorable façade to evade detection by those around her.

All in all, it was an excellent play.
John
Nov 22, 2011 John rated it it was ok
Like The Omen only a little girl. Not terribly believable and a lot of psychoanalytical mumbo jumbo attached.
Sophia
Sep 25, 2011 Sophia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 8th-grade
OH.MY.GOD. This play is amazing! It is the creepiest thing i have ever read!!!oh my god.
Posie
May 24, 2012 Posie rated it really liked it
Creepy. Really well done.
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Maxwell Anderson was an American playwright, poet, and journalist. He won a Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1933, for Both Your Houses, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for both Winterset and High Tor.

Several of his plays were adapted into successful movies, including Anne of a Thousand Days and Key Largo.
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