The Importance of Serious Plays

The NTHS Drama department is currently hard at work on our spring production of The Children’s Hour by playwright Lillian Hellman, who is known as a provocative and controversial social activist of the 1900s. This show was cause for controversy as it depicted the two main characters, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie, ruined after they were accused of being lovers, which, during the period it was written in, would be considered sinful, or unusual. This show follows our last year’s winter production, which was a production of The Miracle Worker, which is a play based on the life of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. The Miracle Worker has similar themes, such as the strain on families during periods of unimaginable hardships.

This begs the question, why choose these styles of shows when it’s no secret that musicals or more campy plays are an easier sell to students? I believe that these shows carry messages that the other show types can not, and it is crucial to spread these messages. Hellman penned The Children’s Hour over 85 years ago, and yet it’s easy to argue that its messages and themes still hold up today. In the show, one baseless accusation had the power to dismantle two women’s lives completely, and this doesn’t seem as fictitious as it is when compared to many of the events and social issues that are ongoing today. I think that it’s wonderful to be able to share these messages through something as captivating and artistic as theatre.

Another, more obvious reason for staging these shows is the experience that actors gain from portraying the complex events that these characters go through. Our drama department’s actors have to realistically convey reactions to experiences that most people could only dream of, which is a task that is necessary to sell the messages that the playwright intended. These shows are made to provoke the audience into contemplation even after the show is over, and I think this art style is important to showcase.The Children’s Hour takes place on February 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th, and 29th at 7pm in the Koval Center. We look forward to seeing you there.