Walton directs spring play, ‘A Midsummer’s Nightmare’


Merari Segura

Library secretary and playwrighter Bradley Walton holds auditions for the spring play, ‘A Midsummer’s Nightmare’ in the courtyard.

Library Media Secretary and spring play director Bradley Walton has been directing and writing the spring plays at HHS for over 20 years. With a background in theater in high school, Walton has been able to use his theater experience to create and write plays.

“I graduated from HHS in 1990 and I was a hardcore theater nerd.  When I came to work in the library here ten years later, my former drama teacher, Mr. Swartz, wanted to add a spring play to the drama schedule but wasn’t able to direct it himself, so he asked if I would do it,” Walton said. “The first two [plays] were Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in 2001 and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2002.  [In] 2003, I wrote an original script called “Monster Hunters” about a husband-and-wife team of paranormal investigators who battle the supernatural and frequently the cryptozoological with their fists, and the occasional chainsaw.”

Beyond writing plays for HHS’ spring play, Walton has been able to make a career out of writing plays.   

“The writing thing worked out pretty well, so I just sort of kept going. I’ve written the play I’ve directed for HHS every year since then. This led to a side career writing plays for the school drama and speech competition markets,” Walton said. 

Walton is very passionate about hosting the spring plays, as he gets to know a lot more people through them. 

“I enjoy [directing], it gives me an opportunity to get to know more students in a closer, more interactive capacity than I would just from being behind the counter at the library desk. I’ve stayed close to a fair number of my former theater students over the years after they graduated, so it’s been a nice way to really get to know some very cool students,” Walton said.

Walton’s inspiration for this year’s spring play came from where he started early in his career. 

“This year marks my 20th original play for HHS, so I decided to go back to where I started and make one of my protagonists the 16-year-old daughter of my characters from “Monster Hunters” and also incorporate some elements from “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to really bring things full circle,” Walton said. 

Walton still gets nervous during performances, despite the plays being his own.

“[I] constantly [get nervous], that [comes] with the territory, regardless of what you’re doing. Sometimes, you just sit there and squirm and hope that the next performance, or if it’s the last performance, that the next year will be better. It just kind of goes with the territory,” Walton said.

Pullquote Photo

I enjoy [directing], it gives me an opportunity to get to know more students in a closer, more interactive capacity than I would just from being behind the counter at the library desk.

— Bradley Walton

Walton intentionally gives himself time between his auditions and rehearsals so that he can adjust the script of the play according to his cast that year.

“[I put gaps in between auditions and rehearsals], so that I can make the adjustments to the script if I need to and basically table the script to my cast,” Walton said. “Sometimes, I do hardly anything to [the] script after auditions and sometimes I do a massive overhaul, but I don’t know until I get there.”

This year’s play, “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” incorporates some of the supernatural as well as parts of other plays that resonated with Walton. 

“The synopsis for “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” goes like this: Born into a family of monster hunters, 16-year-old Phoenix Chapman has grown up battling the supernatural.  Phoenix is absolutely fearless except for two things, one of which is dating.  And that’s a problem, because Phoenix has fallen for her theater nerd friend Xan. So Phoenix takes Xan camping in West Virginia, hoping that the possibility of encountering a Sheepsquatch will ease Phoenix’s relationship anxiety enough to have an honest conversation.  But the trip takes an unexpected turn when Phoenix gets called to help three community theater actors named Gina, Pam, and Eden who were part of a recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and are now experiencing nightmares that might be connected to the real-world counterpart of a fairy from Shakespeare’s play. Phoenix and Xan find themselves trapped in a dream world where their appearances keep changing, and where Phoenix may come face-to-face with her ultimate nightmare:  Being onstage in front of an audience,” Walton said. 

Hoping other people like his original play, as well as it all running smoothly is one of Walton’s biggest hopes. 

“I hope [the play goes well this year]. I am happy with what I have written but, I know that I have got a few more tweaks that I’m already planning to do to the script. I think it is a cool and interesting show,” Walton said.

The cast in order of appearance for “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” is listed below. 


Freshman Lila Hostetler – Phoenix (real world)

Freshman Eliza Malcolm – Xan (real world)

Freshman Addie McLeod – Sheepquatch, Phoenix (dream world)  

Freshman Elaina Jones – Phoenix (dream world)

Freshman Jiayi Li – Gina

Freshman Ellie Wiley – Pam, Ghost of William Shakespeare

Sophomore Priska DiGennaro – Eden

Senior Saycia Szakonyi – Xan (dream world)

Junior Bridget Mangan – Xan (dream world)

Crew members are junior Lee Jenkins (stage manager) and freshman Joshua Nafziger (sound).


The play will be performed in the HHS Courtyard at 6:30 PM on April 22 and 23.