Ann Kreitman

Written in 1934, Lillian Hellman had little choice but to kill off the lesbian in her play The Children's Hour. Influenced by the state and its police, her peers, and the popularity of eugenics at the time, Hellman crafted a play that speaks beautifully and honestly of queer longing and queer imagination while at the same time, offers no queer future. I know this story by heart because I lived it. Thankfully, I also survived it. I did not succumb to the power of shame but chose instead a life that would lead me towards using theatre to share queer history. I love this play. Its poignant language and immaculate structure make it obvious why theatres continue to produce it. However, I refuse to stage a show that offers no queer future. It goes against all I stand for and all I treasure about my queerness. Constantly fighting to survive in a world that wasn't designed for you breaks open how to see that world. It’s the gift of an enormous imagination. Imaginations impacted by the current political climate as Iowa becomes the second state in the country to ban trans girls from playing sports and legislators introduce measures to ban youth from seeing a drag queen.

This production of The Children's Hour is in pursuit of a way forward. Through the exploration of embodied transformation, physical joy, and media to remind us of the past, we break this play open to examine its meaning and its being. As theatremakers telling a story of immense pain, we offer our audience the tools to hold and spend time with tragic queer history without losing ourselves to it in the exploitation of queer sorrow. We must learn our history. And we must keep living.