Teens Tackle ‘Children’s Hour’

The Children’s Hour” — Lillian Hellman’s ground-breaking 1934 play about lies and lesbianism — was banned in Boston, Chicago and London.

It’s an intense, multi-faceted challenge for any director and actor.

Which makes it a perfect vehicle for Staples Players’ last studio production of the season.

Caley Baretta — the senior director — is drawn to the show because of the realism of the characters and script.  She’s taken every directing class at Staples, and has assistant directed many mainstages and Black Box plays.  This is her first effort as head director.

“I wanted something with meaning — no song and dance,” she says.

She’s gotten her wish.

In addition to the subject matter and emotional journeys the characters undergo, there’s another challenge:  All but 2 of the cast are freshmen and sophomores.

“For some of them, it’s their 1st real show,” Caley says.

“That’s exciting for me — not limiting.  Their energy and drive are amazing.”

Caley cried when she got her cast together, to show Staples Players director and drama instructor David Roth.

“Directing is my passion,” she says.  “I’m so grateful to have this as my first chance to really strut my stuff.”

Next year at Northwestern University, Caley will major in drama — with a concentration in directing.  She’ll double major in education or psychology.

“To be a director, you need to know more than theater,” she explains.

When “The Children’s Hour” opens tomorrow, Caley’s grandparents will be in the audience.  They live in Florida, and have never seen a show she’s worked on.

Odds are strong this won’t be their last.

(“The Children’s Hour” is presented tomorrow [Friday, May 28] at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 29 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Click on www.StaplesPlayers.com for tickets.  Click here for Matt Van Gessel’s superb trailer.)

One response to “Teens Tackle ‘Children’s Hour’

  1. Innocent Bystander

    Break a leg, cast and crew!! Lillian Hellman was apparently well before her time and although blacklisted in the 1950’s, she emerged that much stronger. Imagine taking on the gay issue in the middle of the Great Depression??? I used to gripe that the local drama clubs never do anything from this century, but, in this case, this is a bold, provocative and timely choice. Nice.