Can a story about a boarding school in the thirties resonate with Deerfield’s students? The Children’s Hour answers this question as a play set in a girls boarding school in New England in the 1930s. Written by American playwright Lillian Hellman, the play deals with controversial issues such as bullying and sexuality, culminating in a piece of social art.
“It’s a fantastic play because we ourselves are in a boarding school in New England; I thought that this would be something that a lot of our students could relate to,” said Theater Director Catriona Hynds. “Although this is set in the 1930s, an issue such as the one we find in The Children’s Hour regarding sexuality would still be an outrageous issue [today].”
While the theater program misses the phenomenal actors that graduated last year, it has an exciting new cast to debut. The Children’s Hour is the first time where females have the majority of the roles in a play at Deerfield. The new dynamic is definitely something to look forward to.
“It’s not a particularly easy play. It’s a wordy play. It’s quite a complex play as well, and keeps us on our toes, but perhaps my challenge as a director is always to make sure our performances are persistent,” said Hynds. “I must give opportunities to new faces, and sometimes they come with less experience, so my challenge is always to make sure everyone is on a pretty similar level with the other actors on stage, and there’s a lot to do. It’s a big play.”
Focusing on two teachers who are irreparably harmed by malicious rumors that are based on groundless evidence, the play will incentivize talks on issues relevant to Deerfield. Following the performance, Greer chats and other community discussions will be held, facilitating possible productive discussion. The play has great potential to move beyond just an arts performance and open up an opportunity for the community to engage in important discussions.