The Children’s Hour

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The Children’s Hour

The Children’s Hour is a play that centers around a lie that a student told about her two teachers.  A mischievous girl named Mary spreads a lie that her two female teachers, Karen and Martha, were in an illicit love affair.  In 1934, when the play was first produced, any mention of homosexuality on stage was strictly illegal in the state of New York.

Regardless of the laws of the times, the play became incredibly successful, showing the public’s desire to witness something that was currently outlawed in their area.  Because of the plays success, the authorities overlooked the transgression of openly speaking about homosexual relationships.

This play is actually based on a historical event that took place in Edinburgh, Scotland.  In 1810 a student accused two of her schoolteachers of having an affair.  The student’s grandmother told all of her friends to remove their children from the care of the allegedly lesbian instructors.  The women lost everything, including their boardinghouse and decided to sue.  They eventually won the case, but did not do anything to lift their spirits.

DT

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