Lillian Hellman's THE CHILDREN'S HOUR to Play EgoPo Classic Theater This Fall

Who holds the power in a teacher-student relationship? What are the consequences when power shifts from teacher to student? EgoPo Classic Theater explores these themes with their season opener Lillian Hellman's THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, staged by special guest director, Adrienne Mackey. THE CHILDREN'S HOUR previews October 7 and 8 and opens Friday, October 9. The show runs three weeks, closing on Sunday October 25. Tickets start at $25. All performances are at the Latvian Society of Philadelphia on 7th and Spring Garden.

EgoPo's season begins with Lillian Hellman's powerful tragedy, THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, in which a child's accusation throws her headmistresses into a scandal, exposing society's pervasive cultural biases and their devastating effects. When THE CHILDREN'S HOUR opened on Broadway in 1934, any mention of homosexuality on stage was illegal in the state of New York, but the play was such a success and so widely praised by critics that the state law was never enforced. The play was, however, banned in Boston, Chicago, and London, making the power of the fictional child's accusations that much more potent.

Throughout her prolific career, Lillian Hellman was awarded several New York Drama Critics Awards and the New York Times called her "one of the most important playwrights of the American theater." For years, THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, in its original form, was banned from Hollywood, until 1961 when it was finally adapted into a film starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

EgoPo welcomes guest director Adrienne Mackey, the founder of Swim Pony Performing Arts, to bring this classic to new life. Mackey is a locally celebrated director who creates original and compelling theater using the power of the human voice and the forms of the human body. Her works include The Ballad of Joe Hill for the Live Arts Festival and The Master and Margarita for Mum Puppettheatre. She is a past winner of CEC's New Edge Residency and the Independence Arts Fellowship.

This production of THE CHILDREN'S HOUR will fuse the intense psychological text of Hellman, with the dynamic physicality for which Mackey is known. This will be EgoPo's first production by a guest director since its relocation to Philadelphia in 2006 and the collaboration promises to result in a powerful revival of this classic.

EgoPo's first show of the season will feature new faces to the EgoPo ensemble including: Emilie Krause (New Paradise, the Arden, People's Light), Jenna Horton (Applied Mechanics, Bearded Ladies, Berserker Residents), and Maggie Johnson, a recent UArts graduate who will be debuting this year at both EgoPo and the Wilma after starring in The Cat in the Hat at the Arden this past season.

Also new to EgoPo are South Philadelphia native, Keith Conallen (a familiar face to Philadelphia theater-lovers), Cheryl Williams (a long-time veteran of Philly stages), MaryRuth Stein, Samia Merritt, Katie Verde, Twoey Truong, Rebekah Sharp, Francesca Piccioni, Kishia Nixon, and John Schultz. We welcome back EgoPo regular, Mary Lee Bednarek (Death of a Salesman, Anne Frank, Hell).

Hellman's historic play will be set by Czech designer, Markéta Fantova, with lighting design by Maria Shaplin, sound design by Joshua Boden, costumes by Jill Keys, and props by Sara Outing.

THE CHILDREN'S HOUR will be staged at The Latvian Society at 531 N. 7th Street. Previews begin October 7, with Press Opening on Friday, October 9; the show will run three weeks, closing on October 25. Single Tickets for Children's Hour are now available along with subscriptions to the entire American Giants II Festival. Audiences can see all three mainstage shows for only $60, or the entire festival including Trifles for only $100. For tickets and more information, visit www.egopo.org or call 267-273-1414.

EgoPo carries on their tradition of producing annual themed festival seasons. This year, they return to the pivotal 1930s, previously explored in last year's American Giants season, to examine the other half of the American Dream. This year, we will feature four of America's greatest female playwrights: Lillian Hellman (Children's Hour), Clare Boothe Luce (The Women), Sophie Treadwell (Machinal), and Susan Glaspell (Trifles). The American Theater has long marginalized female writers, virtually leaving them out of the traditional canon. Over the course of the 2015-16 season, EgoPo will reconsider the canon and honor the legacy of these playwriting giants.



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