The Children's Hour

How have I missed this play? Even avoided it? I think I had assumed it to be a hoary old melodrama. But The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman is a wonderful script, with that polished-diamond craft of the Golden Age of Broadway. At the same time, though, there's heart and subtlety. When contrasted with the ham-handed sermonizing of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, there's some reality here. This could still happen today, and the play wisely focuses more on the small tragedies the a witch hunt can bring. Or even the small tragedies of unrequited love.

It's fun reading a play like this cold. I'm sure I should know what the received wisdom is on this play. I should know if what I read in that ending is what everyone else reads. Perhaps I'll try and find out at some point ... or perhaps I'll gladly keep my Children's Hour in my head.

(This wonderful photo is from a production at Southeast Missouri State University. Just a brilliant publicity image.)


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