Two single women, Miss Martha Dobie and Miss Karen Wright open a boarding school for girls in a small town in Mass. sometime during the 1930s.
Beyond the bickering of hormonal teenagers, relational conflict arises immediately among both the students and the teachers.
One student, Mary Tilford, has a problem with lying, which she uses to manipulate her fellow students and even her teachers.
After Miss Martha and Miss Karen discipline her, she decides to spread a malicious lie about the two, leading to tragic consequences.
Bullying, feminism and modern-day love are among the heavy themes portrayed by the Garner Magnet High School Drama Department in “The Children’s Hour,” by Lillian Hellman, which opens this weekend.
Debuted on Broadway in 1934, the tale finds surprising relevance in high school culture today, says director Julie-Kate Cooper.
She said that the production aims to challenge students to consider the power of rumors and malicious words.
Throughout the semester, the cast worked with the high school’s counselor, Katie Jordan to learn about the detrimental effects of bullying, specifically at Garner High. Jordan heads up the school’s anti-bullying week and suicide prevention week.
“Words matter. Lies and rumors can truly spiral out of control,” said senior Savannah Baber, who plays Miss Martha Dobie. “I identified with my character in the fact that we both need something bigger to save us from ourselves.”
Both Baber and Marie Jones, a senior who plays Miss Karen Wright, said they struggled to understand their characters’ emotional turmoil.
“It’s one of those roles you can’t fake,” said Baber. “You have to get into the moment every single time.”
Both actresses have previously starred in Garner High’s “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Crucible,” and “How to Eat Like a Child.”
“The Children’s Hour” opens this weekend, from Nov. 6 - 8 at 7 p.m. each night.
The seating for this play is “thrust staging,” where all of the seats are raised on the stage, allowing for an intimate view of the narrative unfolding onstage.
“This will allow the audience to interact with the actors and really feel the energy of the actors. It will draw you in and help you gain a better understanding of the play since you are so close to the action,” said senior lighting designer Rebecca Parada.
GMHS faculty and staff are invited to the Patron Preview Performance at no charge on Nov. 5th.
The play is recommended for ages 13 and older. Seating, located in the GMHS auditorium, is limited, and tickets can be purchased for $5 with a student discount and $8 for adults at the drama department’s website: https://sites.google.com/site/dramagmhs.