The Children’s Hour opens tonight at RHS

Beatrice Altopp plays Mary Tilford, the girl who tries to lie her way out of going to school with dire consequences. The Children’s Hour, Ridgefield High School’s fall drama, opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. — Tanya Jaegar photo

The Children’s Hour, a drama as relevant today as when it was first performed in 1934, opens tonight — Thursday, Nov. 9 — at Ridgefield High School at 7:30 in the Anne S. Richardson Auditorium. Additional performances are scheduled for this weekend and next.

At the core of Lillian Hellman’s drama is Mary Tilford, a troubled teen who does not want to be at boarding school and as a means of escape, concocts a lie so destructive that it changes the face of a small New England town. Freshman Beatrice Altopp plays Mary and says that in order to play Mary, “I had to find a reason to like her. She’s made to be to the person you despise. She is good at getting her way, especially with her grandmother. But she’s a child and she really doesn’t want to be at school. She doesn’t understand the pain she causes or the fatal consequences of the lie she tells.”

Mary’s lie targets her teachers, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie, played by Eleanor Andresen and Emily Parker. Evan Smolin is Joe Cardin, the town doctor and Karen’s fiancé. Lucy Basile is Mary’s grandmother, Amelia Tilford, and Annabel Briody is Rosalie, the classmate Mary coerces into corroborating her lie. Nell Walton and Lane Murdock alternate in the role of Lily Mortar, Martha’s aunt.

Kyra Linekin is Agatha, the Tilfords’ maid, and Ryan Pratt is a grocery delivery boy. The grocery boy is on stage for what Pratt calls “a short, unpleasant encounter” with Martha, during which “his job is to show what has happened between Act II and Act III. He gives relevance to what is going on in the town. It’s a show-and-tell trick used by the author.”

The schoolgirls are played by Evelyn Carr, Ava Cowles, Hannah Jay, Lucy Kubrin, Caroline Malley, Maiki Muursepp, and Juliet Petersen with Callie Amill, Makena Klinkowize, Ana Kowalczyk, and Elena Tittel.

The play is directed by RHS performing arts teacher Sherry Cox. Claire McLoughlin is the stage manager working with running crew Matt Carpenter, Shane Jaeger, Michael Kovacs, Ryan Pratt, and Caroline Smith. DJ Ammirato is on lighting, with Julissa Acevedo, Olivia Clausen, Dennis Dowding, Conor Hankla, Emma Jaeger, Jonah Pereyra, and Anna Sorgie. Donata Libonati works the sound board with RJ Carey, Harrison Cluney, and Sophia Smith. Kaitlyn Mitchell does makeup with Olivia Jones, Mallory Shofi and Olivia Wieland.

The Children’s Hour will have five evening performances, Nov. 9-11 and 17-18 at 7:30 p.m. The snow date is Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students with school ID and for seniors age 60 and older. Ridgefield seniors who have a Gold Card may attend one show for free, but must have the Gold Card with them for admission. Tickets will be sold at the door until showtime. Online sales at rhsperformingarts.info/.

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