Abstract: Dramaturgy Work on William & Mary Theatre’s 2018 Production of The Children’s Hour

    Set in a New England town in the 1930’s, The Children’s Hourtells the story of two boarding school headmistresses accused of having a homosexual affair, and the disgruntled student whose one malevolent lie ruins the lives of many people around her. It was the first play of American playwright Lillian Hellman, and a commercial, though controversial, success that paved the way for her later accomplishments and just as disputed career. Though an older piece, this play continues to be a timeless one; the warning of the consequences of gossip, rumors, and a culture of fear have as much validity today as in 1934. Especially in the era of fake news, this story of the power of a lie, and people bending the truth to suit their own will, continues to hold irrefutable relevance in today’s society.

    Working as a dramaturg for William & Mary’s fall production of The Children’s Hour, my main role would be providing the director with pre-production research on Hellman and the historical context of this drama, and contextualizing the world of the play in a modern era. Under the direction of Professor Artisia Green, I would be researching how The Children’s Hour can be translated into a modern-day setting that incorporates underrepresented students, and their experiences regarding these themes, into the storyline. This would culminate in a published pre-production study of the play, an in-depth analysis of and compilation on materials regarding this show and Hellman’s original intentions of the work. Additionally, I would work on designing and executing the lobby display of the Kimball theatre, as well as organizing pre and post-show conversations, bringing speakers to campus to interact with the actors and community.

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