The Third Wave

Author(s): &

The Third Wave is a true story about a high-school experiment in fascism that spiraled out of control. Set in 1967 in Palo Alto, California, during the Vietnam war, racial integration and social revolution, the play centers around a young, popular teacher, Ron Jones, and his world history class. When a student asks how so many people could be led to deny the Holocaust of World War II, Mr. Jones decides to demonstrate by giving his students an exercise in discipline not unlike that of a totalitarian society. To his surprise, the students delight in the order and power of that discipline and relinquish their freedom in favor of the prospect of supposed superiority over other students in the school. The class adopts the name "The Third Wave," and soon many others, even from neighboring schools, clamor to be part of the "elite" group.
Format: Full-length drama
Cast Size: 5-11M/8-14F
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes



The experiment has also been the subject of several films and a novel.

For more information, see the author’s website:

Also, is a resource created by Jones’ original Wave students.

Original Source Material: “The Third Wave” experiment at Cubberley Senior High School, Palo Alto, CA in 1967, and the short story, Take as Directed, written by Ron Jones about the experience, published in 1976.
Nationality of Author:
Original Language: English
Production Rights Holder:

Dramatic Publishing

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