The Children’s Hour

“The Children’s Hour” by Lillian Hellman, directed by Elizabeth Tracey

May 10, 11 & 17, 18

Synopsis: Lillian Hellman is a iconic playwright and The Children’s Hour may be her most powerful play. After a malicious youngster starts a rumor about two women who run a school for girls, the scandal tears their lives apart. As the young girl comes to understand the power she wields, she sticks by her story, which precipitates  tragedy for the women.
Cast: 2 men/12 women (8 of these are girls age 8 – 12 years)

Dreamwell Theatre announces auditions for The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman February 25 and 26, 6 to 9pm at the Iowa City Public Library. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script but short monologues may be presented as well. Scripts will be available at the library. Directed by Liz Tracey.

The Children’s Hour is a serious adult play about two women who run a school for girls. A malicious student, trying to protect herself, starts an entirely unfounded rumor about the two women. When the young teen sees the rumor turn to scandal, she understands the power she wields and sticks to her story, which eventually precipitates tragedy for the women.

Cast of Characters:
Karen Wright (25 – 30 yrs old) is Martha Dobie’s close friend and partner in the Wright-Dobie school for girls. She is attractive, warm and outgoing. She is admired and respected by her students for whom she has a genuine affection.  She is an emotionally stable woman, at ease with herself and others.
Martha Dobie (25 – 30 yrs old) is Karen’s friend and co-owner of the school. She is nervous and high strung. Dependant on Karen to make a go of the school. Admires Karen.
Dr. Joseph Cardin (28 – 35 yrs old) is a relaxed and amiable, country doctor and Karen’s fiancee. He has a warm and easygoing nature. He is also gracious and humerous and seems ideally suited to Karen.
Mrs. Lily Mortar (45 – 55 yrs old) is a self-centered woman who lives in a romaticized delusion of her past theatrical triumphs as an actress. She is vain and very susceptible to flattery.
Mrs. Amelia Tilford (60’s) is a wealthy widow, large and dignified. An influential supporter of the Wright-Dobie school. She is a fair and generous person, who’s weakness is her lack of good judgement when it concerns her granddaughter.
Girls all between 10 and 14 years old:
Mary Tilford is the spoiled granddaughter of Amelia Tilford. A problem child who is clever and attempts to manipulate everyone at the school, resorting to a variety of tricks, including flattery, feigned sickness, blackmail, physical intimidation and whining complaints.
Rosalie Wells does not like Mary and stands up to her. She is a complex character who’s sense of right and wrong are challenged when Mary blackmails her for stealing a classmate’s bracelet.
Peggy Rogers is not as wealthy as the other girls. She works hard to save her money. She is phyically and emotionally weaker than Mary.
Evelyn Munn is a roommate of Mary. She is infatuated with Mary’s disregard for the rules. She is aftaid of Mary but wants to please her. She is relatively quiet and timid.
Catherine is a bright student. Show off who dominates Lois.
Lois is a slow but lovable student who is struggling with Latin in the opening scene.
Helen is the girl who’s bracelet is stolen by Rosalie.
Janet and Leslie are two students in the opening scene.
Grocery Boy appears in the last scene, carrying a box of groceries into the school’s living room. An awkward teenager; giggling and gawking at Karen and Martha.

Questions and inquiries may be directed to the director, Liz Tracey, at liz.tracey@aol.com