Lillian Hellman’s American Classic THE LITTLE FOXES brings us into the post-Civil War South where nothing is more important to the Hubbard Clan than money and power. The ruthless, wealthy brothers and sister live in, and poison, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. They steal, deceive, and plot against each other in their efforts to invest in one of the first cotton mills to industrialize the New South, a plan that stands to win them millions of dollars. Each has plans for what the money will buy for them, how each will untimely ‘lord it’ over their siblings.
At the center of the arena is Regina Giddons née Hubbard, who has her daughter under her thumb. Mrs. Giddons is estranged from her husband, who is convalescing in Baltimore and suffers from a terminal illness. But she needs him home, and will manipulate her daughter to help bring him back. She has a plot afoot that she's cooking up with her two elder brothers, Oscar and Ben, and needs his approval for the necessary funds to be released into her hands. Her brother Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife and a dishonest worm of a son. Will Regina’s daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to be - her mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both? Can any of them overcome their hatred for one another?
Or will they ultimately devour each other in a feeding frenzy chasing the delusional gods of Wealth and Power?
“They play a deadly game of chess with all the chips on the line every time,” says director Sam Pilo. “It’s enormously entertaining. The piece is filled with fabulous characters, crackling dialogue and exquisite plot twists comparable to ‘The Lion in Winter’ and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ They are so open with their hatred and envy for each other, and yet so witty and insightful as they tear one another to shreds…I can’t image a better title! The image of young animals playing together in the wild and suddenly tearing into one another in a mad frenzy over a piece of meat. It happens in front of your eyes so quickly. You can’t take your eyes off the action. It’s a cleverly structured and written play. Lillian Hellman allows you to become a voyeur in your seat as this family descends into the lower depths. She’s as manipulative as her leading lady. There’s a reason it’s a Classic.”
Tallulah Bankhead originally created the iconic role of the evil and manipulative Regina in 1939, and Broadway has often revived the play as a starring vehicle for actresses such as Anne Bancroft, Greer Garson, Elizabeth Taylor, Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon among so many others. The title comes from the Song of Solomon in the King James Bible: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” The play was adapted for the screen by Hellmann in 1941, with Bette Davis in a stellar performance. In 1949, the play was adapted again, this time into an opera called “Regina.” There was also a television version that was released in 1956 on NBC.