Tulane Theatre to explore lies, lesbiansim in “The Children’s Hour”

Ishan Patel, Contributing Reporter

The Department of Theatre and Dance at Tulane returns this semester to present Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour.” Jessica Podewell, a Tulane theatre professor, will direct the play, which will run nightly in the Lupin Theatre until Sunday. The show, focusing primarily on the effects of telling a lie,  features a cast of Tulane student actors, all delivering astounding performances within Podewell’s mature handling of the subject matter.    

The play takes place in a ’30s girls’ boarding school and revolves around Mary, an angry student who runs away from the school. Mary lies to her grandmother to avoid getting sent back. She claims the two headmistresses are having a lesbian affair.

Hellman wrote many adaptations of the play in 1934, 1952, 1961 and 1971, as well as a film screenplay in 1936. Podewell’s production is a combination of the different adaptations.

 “I took parts from the five scripts and kind of merged them together,” Podewell said. 

Though the lesbian affair is integral in the story line, Mary’s deceit toward her grandmother is the focal point of the play.

“The main issue in the play isn’t lesbianism; it is actually the power of lies,” Podewell said. “The play shows how lies affect us all and how they destroy lives.”

The production design, costumes, and lighting superbly reflect the play’s time period. The cast members pitch in goose bump-inducing performances, specifically sophomores Audrey Catalano, Emma Charap and freshman Allison Gerstley.

Catalano, who portrays the headmistress Karen, notes emotion fluidity as the most difficult part in playing her character.

“My character goes through three major life-changing events one after the other,” Catalano said. “It was difficult sustaining and elaborating on my emotions.”

“The Children’s Hour” is a fantastic show that shouldn’t be missed. The cast has high hopes for the upcoming performances.