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Student production includes modern twists

By Sam Hoefler
On February 23, 2017

Kirkwood Community College’s Performing Arts spring play included a modern rendition of the classic play “The Children’s Hour” on Feb. 16 - 18.  

The play stayed close to the original story with a few modern twists. The play began in a girl’s boarding school with three girls in the opening scene. One of the girls, Mary, is about as mischievous, disobedient and untruthful as they come. 

Mary starts out by lying about her health and faking an illness to get attention. The teachers of the school, Karen Wright, and Martha Dobie, have her looked at by a doctor. 

When she is treated by Dr. Joe Cardin, Karen’s fiancé, he immediately calls Mary out on her falsehoods. She is then sent to her room were the drama with the adults unfolds rapidly. The adults spend a good amount of time arguing about what to do with her. 

It becomes obvious to the audience that something has to be done when Mary’s lies continue. Mary then brutally extracts information out of her friends, who had been listening to Mary’s conversation with Joe. 

Now knowing what the girls know, she carefully twists their words against them along with several lies in order to convince her grandmother, Amelia Tilford, that Karen and Martha, the teachers of her school, are engaged in a lesbian affair. After this many students are pulled out of the school when Amelia begins contacting their parents spreading the lies even further. 

This eventually leads to conflict with the few girls left at the school. Mary blackmails another student Rosalie into going along with everything that she has said and done so far. When it is discovered why the students were pulled from the school, Karen and Martha go to Amelia to confront her about this. Mary, having planned this well, uses Rosalie as a scapegoat to pin everything on. They decide to take Amelia to court and end things there. 

Seven months later, they have lost the case and everyone still believes they are lovers. When Karen reveals to Joe that she knows he believes the lies, a fight unfolds and their relationship is destroyed. When Martha arrives to talk with Karen, Martha reveals she does, in fact, love Karen and wishes they were lovers. After a brief but tense exchange between the two, Martha leaves and commits suicide. 

According to the director’s note by Shelly Ford, “The challenge before us all is to recognize bullying and abuse of power, shut down lies and rumors, insist on truth and justice, overcome our fear and apathy and stand up for what’s right.” 

 

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