Peter Kates Produced by Marguerite Copel & Steve Doherty
Performances in the Auditorium of the Kingston
Intermediate School March 26 & 27 and April 2 & 3, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.
Lillian Hellman's first play, "The Children's Hour", is set in the 1930's at a private boarding
school for girls. The school was established by two young and able teachers, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie. A spoiled, manipulative
student, Mary Tilford, accuses the two teachers of having an "abnormal attachment" for one another. Acting in what
she believes to be the students' best interests, Mary's grandmother and major financial supporter of the Wright-Dobie
School destroys the school along with the teachers' self-worth. Later it is discovered that the gossip was pure invention,
but by that time irreparable damage has been done.
Based on an early 1800's case in Scotland, few contemorary
scripts equal Hellman's portrayal of pure evil. Introduced in 1934, "The Children's Hour" shocked and fascinated
Broadway audiences with its frank treatment of lesbianism and enjoyed a run of 691 performances. It also spawned two film
adaptations including "These Three" (1936) penned by Hellman herself.