Soap World - - CONTENTS - SW

Hester Ap­p­le­yard is on the very brink of a ner­vous break­down when an­other school­girl goes miss­ing!

Some­thing wicked this way comes at Ap­p­le­yard Ladies Col­lege, where head­mistress Mrs Hester Ap­p­le­yard rules the roost with an iron fist she loves to wield.

In the wake of three school­girls un­der her care go­ing miss­ing at Hang­ing Rock, Hester (Natalie Dormer) has been fight­ing a los­ing bat­tle to keep it to­gether. In the wake of the scan­dal of the miss­ing girls, af­ter­shocks have rocked not only the school but the en­tire com­mu­nity, and each lit­tle rip­ple has done more dam­age to Hester’s care­fully con­structed façade. Her pre­tence of be­ing a so­ci­ety lady of re­gal standing is rapidly crum­bling, and so is her ten­u­ous men­tal state. In up­com­ing episodes of

Pic­nic at Hang­ing Rock, Hester be­gins a slow and dan­ger­ous de­scent into mad­ness as the chap­ter en­gulfs ev­ery as­pect of her life, caus­ing her to un­ravel at her starched seams...

There’s no order in Hester’s life any longer; each new day seems to bring an­other dag­ger to her tiny heart, up­end­ing her world. Fear­ful par­ents con­tinue to ar­rive at the gates to pull their chil­dren out of school, and as a re­sult, the place is largely empty.

And Hester’s not just fight­ing a re­bel­lion among the stu­dents and their par­ents, but the teach­ing staff as well. They’re ques­tion­ing her in­creas­ingly bizarre be­hav­iour and her strange re­ac­tion to the chaos of the shock­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. When news ar­rives that a Scot­land Yard de­tec­tive is sail­ing out from Lon­don to head up a whole new line of inquiry, it sends Hester into a state of ut­ter panic! Any­thing to do with the Big Smoke and the sor­did life she left be­hind there has the power to ter­rify her.

She be­comes ob­sessed and dis­tressed by the thought that some­one might be able to put all the pieces to­gether to work out just what a fraud she is!

Hester be­lieves she has done a good job in mak­ing her ve­neer im­pen­e­tra­ble, and as a re­sult she stands on the verge of re­spectabil­ity as the po­ten­tial new wife of town medico Dr MacKen­zie (Don Hany). He of­fers her the chance to start all over again as a doc­tor’s wife, but Hester fears that this time she sim­ply can’t out­run her demons.

De­spite the de­voted at­ten­tion of the doc­tor, there are two peo­ple who have be­gun to see through all her de­ceit and lies –

and they are school­teacher Made­moi­selle Diane de Poitiers (Lola Bes­sis) and young stu­dent Sara Way­bourne (Inez Curro).

Diane, in fact, has be­come in­creas­ingly con­cerned by the er­ratic way the head­mistresses is be­hav­ing, and the way she’s run­ning the school. She can see that Hester’s out of con­trol, and wor­ries about what she’s ca­pa­ble of do­ing next.

When Diane finds a pile of pa­per­work that re­veals just some of the in­ex­pli­ca­ble de­ci­sions Hester is mak­ing in re­gards to the school, she fears they could all be in trou­ble!

But it is the wise way-be­yond­her-years Sara who can see right through Hester and knows the dark­ness of the heart that lies be­neath the prim ex­te­rior.

Sara is all-see­ing and all-know­ing, and has al­ready worked out that Hester is los­ing it. What makes this worse for Sara is that Hester knows the young girl has al­ready worked her out and she be­comes dan­ger­ously para­noid. Hester be­lieves the only way to keep a firm lid on this out-of-con­trol sit­u­a­tion is to lock Sara up for good!

Hester is sure she can deal with Diane and Sara, but it’s when lo­cal mar­ble ma­son To­masetti (Mar­cus Gra­ham) makes a sur­prise visit – com­plete with cryp­tic prom­ises -- that Hester freezes. She knows the rough knock­about from the bad old days in Lon­don and the dirt he has on her about her vile past would de­stroy her rep­u­ta­tion and force her to flee town if it was ever revealed!

Her para­noia reaches near-hys­te­ria as Hester feels she’s be­ing at­tacked on ev­ery front and starts lash­ing out at ev­ery­one. The ice queen is los­ing her grip, and that means those around her are in grave dan­ger... So when yet an­other girl goes miss­ing from the school, Diane and Sergeant Bumpher (Jonny Pasvol­sky) be­come con­vinced that Hester is in­volved in all the dis­ap­pear­ances! While the haunt­ing power of Hang­ing Rock has been blamed for ev­ery­thing thus far, both Diane and the de­tec­tive are cer­tain the cul­prit could be far more hu­man in form.

So when a new piece of ev­i­dence is un­earthed, it sheds dis­turb­ing light on the case of the lat­est miss­ing girl, and Diane is con­vinced the vic­tim is in se­ri­ous dan­ger, if not al­ready dead. At this point, Diane is con­vinced that noth­ing is be­yond Hester!

But the past is far from fin­ished with the school ma’am, and she’s now ter­ri­fied in a way she has not known in years. When a woman like Hester is scared, there’s al­most no telling what she might do. Hester has fought mon­sters, both real and imag­ined, through­out her life, and one thing is now for sure – she will not ad­mit de­feat with­out a bru­tal fight to the fin­ish!



Hester Ap­p­le­yard (Natalie Dormer) is reel­ing as her façade rapidly crum­bles.



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