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The Children's Hour

The Children's Hour
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Lillian Hellman
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 75
Pub. Date: 1953
ISBN-10: 0822202050
ISBN-13: 9780822202059
Cast Size: 12 women, 2 men

About the Play:

The Children's Hour was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Nominated for the 1934 Pulitzer Prize

The Children's Hour is a full-length drama by Lillian Hellman. This classic play is based on an incident that occurred at a school in Edinburgh in 1810. A selfish girl accused two of her teachers of having an affair; her bullying ultimately destroys the lives of the two women. A devastating story of deceit, shame and courage, its potent exploration of a culture of fear remains startlingly relevant.

The Children's Hour is a serious and adult play set in an all-girls boarding school run by two women, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie. An angry student, Mary Tilford, runs away from the school, and to avoid being sent back she tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are having a lesbian affair. As the young girl comes to understand the power she wields, she sticks by her story. The accusation proceeds to destroy the women's careers, relationships and lives. It is later discovered that the gossip was pure invention, but it is too late. Irreparable damage has been done. Prefaced by an interview with the author by Harry Gilroy from the New York Times.

Her first and most famous play, The Children's Hour was banned in London, as well as in Chicago and Boston, and was considered too scandalous for the Pulitzer prize, a decision that outraged the New York theatre critics into forming the Drama Critics' Circle in protest. It was an immense hit, however, in New York and Paris, running on Broadway for almost two years. The play was revived in London's West End in 2011 starring Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 12 women, 2 men

About the Playwright:

Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) is considered one of the most acclaimed American dramatists of the first half of the twentieth century. In an era that largely favoured lighthearted romantic plays and drawing-room comedies, her works explored the human capacity for malice, the allure of power and money, and the dichotomy between individual interests and social conscience. She was also the first woman to be admitted into the previously all-male club of American "dramatic literature", primarily on the basis of two enormously successful plays from the 1930s: The Children's Hour and The Little Foxes.

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