Hope College Theatre’s final production of the academic year is “The Children’s Hour,” a drama about the consequences of fear, lies and gossip.

The production will open on Friday, April 17, and continue on Saturday, April 18, and Wednesday-Saturday, April 22-25, in the DeWitt Center main theatre.  All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by theatre faculty member Daina Robins, the tragic tale of two women whose lives are destroyed by the power of a lie was written in 1934 by Lillian Hellman, one of the first important female playwrights of the American theatre.

The play, set in the 1930s, tells the story of Miss Karen Wright and Miss Martha Dobie, who run a boarding school for girls in New England.  When Mary Tilford, a troubled student, tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are in a relationship, the lie sets off a string of tragic events which will ruin both women’s reputations, careers, and lives.

According to director Robins, while the play deals with issues of sexual orientation, it is more essentially about “misplaced fear of the unknown” and the “serious ramifications” that can come from acting out of fear and lack of knowledge.  “Prejudice, bias, unconscious or conscious fear of the unknown . . . can at times make us behave very inhumanely to each other,” said Robins. “It’s so easy to categorize people according to a particular identity.  It still boils down to individual people.  You have to know what you’re doing when it impacts people’s lives.”

The production team for “The Children’s Hour” includes faculty members Michelle Bombe as costume designer and Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer.  Senior Tessa Schultz of Grinnell, Iowa, is the scenic and properties designer with Professor Richard Smith as her faculty mentor.  The stage manager for the production is senior Jacqueline Marschke of Glenview, Illinois; the assistant stage managers are Mikayla Contreras of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Victoria Ward of Vicksburg and Elijah J. Yang of Eugene, Oregon; and the dramaturg is Mollie Murk of Crystal Lake, Illinois.

The cast includes junior Kira Alsum of Grand Rapids; senior Brittany Bernardi of Ventura, California; freshman Melanie Burkhardt of Geneva, Illinois; sophomore Lindsay Hall of Grand Blanc; freshman Kierney Johnson of Edmonds, Washington; freshman Anna Jones of Ann Arbor; freshman Rachel Kennedy of Naperville, Illinois; senior Taylor Ann Krahn of Mishawaka, Indiana; freshman Maty Landman of Grand Rapids; senior Mary Bridget McCarthy of Grand Haven; junior Cameron Pratt of Zeeland; freshman Elizabeth Schonfeld of Oxford; senior Jori Sportel of Kalamazoo; and sophomore Elijah J. Yang of Eugene, Oregon.

Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff, and $5 for students, and are available at the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.).  The office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.  Patrons may purchase tickets in person, online at hope.edu/tickets, or by calling the ticket office.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.