Rory Webber’s passion shines through in “The Children’s Hour”


Rory Webber

The cast of “The Children’s Hour” pose together after working hard for such an outstanding night.

Sayee Deshmukh, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Ayala’s International Thespian Society (ITS) showcased their second to last 2022-2023 production of the year The Children’s Hour on April 6, 2023 in the multi-purpose room (MPR).

The Children’s Hour is a drama about a girls boarding school, run by Karen Wright and Martha Dobie, portrayed by Rory Webber and Gabby Torres (12) respectively. The story itself tackles themes of sexuality and how easily homophobia is able to destroy the lives of those who suffer as a result of it .

Not only did Webber star as one of the main leads of the production, she herself also single handedly directed the showcase as well. Webber’s reasoning for wanting to bring this story to life on the MPR stage was due to the fact that she felt strongly about the themes presented in The Children’s Hour-and as an ITS veteran-felt that there was a lack of queer representation in Ayala’s history of stage performances.

I chose The Children’s Hour because of its unique perspective on homosexuality and the controversies that go along with it  in the 1930s,” Webber explained, “I wanted to draw attention to the comforts we take advantage of today in the western world, like being able to love freely”.

Unlike previous Ayala stage performances, The Children’s Hour was a completely student-driven production, meaning that it had virtually no staff support. As director of this showcase, Webber was put under immense pressure to not only arrange all aspects of the show; including arranging the script, designing the sets, and running costume on top of serving as the general director, she also had to make sure that she herself was able to perfect her role on stage. Although many may crack under the pressure of all of these responsibilities, to Webber, it’s all just a part of creating something absolutely fulfilling.

I am extremely grateful to my cast and crew for the support they gave to me and the show along the way. The Children’s Hour was a labor of love for me,” Webber said. “[The Children’s Hour] was my last high school play and my way of saying goodbye to my time at Ayala Theatre. Despite how exhausting it was, I am immensely proud of it and thankful for the opportunity.”

Not only was The Children’s Hour fulfilling for Webber, but it was also extremely important to the rest of the cast of this showcase. Not only was the production an overall fun experience to be a part of as the cast themselves were such a tight-knit group, but the complexities of the story itself resonated with many, both with the actors and audience.

“From messing up a line, acting as other characters, and teasing other cast members are memories I will cherish the most,” said Keira Vista (10) who portrayed Mary Tilford.

“Being able to even showcase a plot like this is something I am so grateful for, and through the complexity in this plot, I’m really glad people in the audience were able to resonate with it,” said Torres.

Furthermore, The Children’s Hour is the pinnacle of what pure love for the arts looks like. As a theatre veteran, Rory Webber has directed a plethora of ITS productions in the past, however, with The Children’s Hour being her last production, a true sense of artistic passion can be felt within the show itself.

Although issues did arise whilst rehearsing for the show-issues that could otherwise turn off someone from working on the showcase all together-these issues were quickly resolved in order to create something wonderful. Passion is something that Webber truly believes is the bare requirement one who wants to get involved with the arts on campus should have, and she hopes that as time goes on, future student directors will share the same amount of love that she has for her craft.

If you’re not passionate about it and if you aren’t willing to put in hours and hours of work, don’t do it,” said Webber. “Most of the shows I’ve directed or show-run at Ayala, the audience was nearly empty (The Children’s Hour was an exception) but I didn’t do it for them, I did it for myself and that’s the key. You have to do it because it means the world to you, not for the approval of others because odds are you won’t receive that approval.”