As you enter the Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, you can’t help but notice something out of place.

The audience takes their seats, and two girls dressed in school uniforms come from behind the curtains and start to doodle all over the floor with chalk. Before the lights even go up, Elon’s Department of Performing Arts submerges the audience into the world of “The Children’s Hour.”

This is the first time Elon has performed “The Children’s Hour,” a controversial play written by Lillian Hellman that first premiered onstage in 1934. Throughout the performance, the ensemble strategically incorporates bits of the show’s rich and extensive history, giving the audience a taste of why the show is so controversial and how Hellman approached the critics of her bold choices that pushed boundaries too far for her time. The entire cast of the Broadway revival was even arrested due to “obscenity.” However, Hellman’s perseverance through negative press and true belief in her own work led the play to live on after all of these years.

While the message, scenic design and costumes are all beautiful, the standout aspect of this show was definitely the performances. “The Children’s Hour” showcases an array of talent, with every cast member staying at the top of their game throughout the entire show.

Standout performances include junior Leah Greene as Mary, the devious antagonist of the show who singlehandedly manages to turn an entire town against her two school teachers. Greene’s perfect delivery of a spoiled and cruel character made her easy to hate, which ultimately means that she did her job effectively.

First-year Bonnie Flannery also gave an equally hilarious yet heartbreaking performance as Rosalie, and senior Victoria Webster’s biggest accomplishment was her ability to pull off playing an older woman while keeping her performance realistic and believable.

That being said, the two show stealers were really juniors Maggie Kittner and Ariadne Vickers-Davis who played Karen and Martha respectively. Both actresses had to tackle playing two very complex characters who have to go through a deep array of emotions, and carry the weight of the show’s most controversial aspect. Yet, both Kittner and Vickers-Davis were able to execute these roles perfectly, and their hard work is made evident.

“The Children’s Hour” at its core is a perfect example of how lucky Elon is to have such talented people involved in its Department of Performing Arts, both on and offstage. Taking on such a challenging and controversial piece was a risky move that could’ve easily fallen flat, but Elon’s production was nothing short of fantastic.