Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Little Foxes

I have put this post off long enough but I am man enough to finally tackle writing about the ‘bore-fest’ that is Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (3 Acts, 79 pages).

The story centers around the most loathsome fictional family I have ever come across; the Hubbards. They are a southern American family living in the late 1800s/ early 1900s (the play itself is set in the Spring of 1900). They are the embodiment of all the terrible traits you would imagine linked to the rising middle class of this time that felt it their right to build themselves up in society no matter who they walked over; selfish, angry, rude, and disrespectful describes the majority of this family in a nutshell.

To be fair, this was heightened by the fact that I was reading a production version of the text; meaning that it was filled with very lengthy stage directions and not in the enjoyable novel-esque descriptions of the likes of Bernard Shaw.

The only escape from all of this came in the form of five characters;
  • Addie and Cal- The servants/ slaves of Regina Giddens (an original Hubbard) who show more humanity than their, supposedly, civilized masters throughout the play.
  • Birdie Hubbard- The wife of Oscar Hubbard who has a kind flame in her spirit that is slowly being extinguished by the awful Hubbard family.
  • Alexandra Giddens- The daughter of Regina and Horace Giddens who, like Birdie, does not share the terrible characteristics with the majority of the family and actually seems to be the anti-thesis of her own mother.
  • Horace Giddens- As stated above, the husband of Regina and father of Alexandra. He is mentioned throughout Act One but then only comes onto the stage in the final two acts and really gives the Hubbards what they deserve!
I can imagine, like the bulk of plays out there, that The Little Foxes would be much better as a performance, but I can safely say that the text I read was anything but enjoyable.

The final escape, at least for myself, was singing snatches of Malvina Reynold’s Little Boxes in my head;

Hellman, Lillian. The Little Foxes. New York: Dramatists Play Service, Inc, 1969. Print.

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