Small-town librarian Meredith Stafford and her husband Beau are losing the struggle for the perfect lawn.  Invasive weeds and pesky moles have made an unholy mess of their front yard. Meredith decides to “go wild”, replacing the decimated lawn with a “natural” landscape. When she’s fined for violating a local lawn ordinance, she’s incensed: their son, Johnny, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq to defend their rights and freedoms.

Meredith decides to challenge the ordinance in court. While she loses the case, she becomes a social media sensation. And that launches her on a bizarre journey that shakes her faith in America as a bastion of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Unbeknown to Meredith, a multinational corporation allied with corrupt politicians is poised to make millions from marketing a highly toxic new lawn treatment called New Dawn. By spreading the “go wild” gospel, Meredith is seen as a threat – and she becomes the target of an orchestrated smear campaign. She is falsely accused of a staged terrorist attack on her own home. She loses her job. And she and is shunned by members of her church. But with the aid of an environmental group and sympathetic neighbors, Meredith clears her name and helps expose the New Dawn scam. With the “going wild” movement fast becoming a national phenomenon, Meredith and Beau give their now lush and wild front yard a new name: Johnny’s Garden.

Staged reading, Aloha Theatre, Kealakekua, Hawaii, 2018
Reading, North Shore Readers Theatre Collaborative, Newburyport, MA, 2018

Finalist, NewPlayFest 2020, American Association of Community Theatre, 2018
Finalist, Original Play Festival, Aloha Theatre, Kealakekua, Hawaii, 2018


Cast: 4–9
Roles by gender: 3 men, 3 women, 3 gender-neutral
Roles by race: 2 white, 7 race-neutral

Read the first five scenes:


Read the most recent version:

New Play Exchange

  • “Powerful…..Going Wild shows us how one woman’s courage to stand up for what she believes in can become the change… to heal ourselves and our planet.”

    Nikki Johnson, Director, Aloha Theatre, Hawaii