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The Little Foxes

The Little Foxes
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Lillian Hellman
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 81
Pub. Date: 1995
ISBN-10: 0822206773
ISBN-13: 9780822206774
Cast Size: 4 women, 6 men

About the Play:

The Little Foxes has long been a favourite of acting teachers for female monologues, female/male scenes, and male/male scenes.

The Little Foxes is a full-length drama by Lillian Hellman. This classic tale of greed, betrayal and all the sordid ties that bind takes sibling rivalry to unimaginable heights and reveals how far a ruthless family can bend the rules before they break each other. A milestone in American drama, this cynical story of family greed and revenge is Lillian Hellman's most popular play, and it is the one most frequently revived.

The Little Foxes tells of the battles between the ruthless Hubbard siblings. Picture a charming home in the South. Into this peaceful scene put the prosperous, despotic Hubbard family – Ben, possessive and scheming; Oscar, cruel and arrogant; Ben's dupe, Leo, weak and unprincipled; Regina wickedly clever – each trying to outwit the other. In contrast, meet lonely intimidated Birdie, whom Oscar wed for her father's cotton fields; wistful Alexandra, Regina's daughter; and Horace, ailing husband of Regina, between whom a breach has existed for years. The conflict in these lives has been caused by Ben's ambition to erect a cotton mill. The brothers still lack $75,000 to complete the transaction. This, they hope, will come from Horace, who has been in a hospital with a heart ailment. Horace is beset by his relatives the first hour of his homecoming, but refuses to commit himself. Desperate, Leo and his father, Oscar, plan for Leo to take $80,000 worth of bonds from Horace's safe-deposit box. However, knowing that he is to be short-lived, Horace has his box brought to him. Discovering the theft, he informs his wife that he has willed the bonds to her. He promises to say nothing about the theft, calling it a loan. Cruelly, Regina recalls their unhappy married life, causing Horace to be stricken with a severe attack. Regina refuses to get his medicine upstairs, hoping that the effort of climbing may prove fatal. Horace collapses. Then Regina blackmails her brothers into giving her 75% of the business instead of their planned 33-1/3%, or she will reveal their theft. We feel, however, that crafty Ben holds the trump card by his parting remark, "What was a man in a wheelchair doing on a staircase?"

The Little Foxes premiered in 1939 on Broadway at the National Theatre and ran for 410 performances. The show enjoyed numerous award-winning Broadway revivals and tours and has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 women, 6 men

What people say:

"Lillian Hellman's best-known play is set in 1900 and was first produced in 1939, yet few will fail to perceive its currency in the 21st-century America of Donald Trump, with his $14 billion Cabinet. The notion of that unprecedented concentration of wealth being swept into the country's highest office on the winds of a populist movement would surely have elicited a bitter laugh from the socially conscious Hellman, whose portrait of gender inequality also has contemporary teeth." — Hollywood Reporter

"Hellman is writing in part about the transition from old to new South, and the advance of amoral capitalism. The Hubbards have no scruples about cheating the local black population, and Ben has married the aristocratic Birdie purely for the sake of cotton. Hellman is both attacking Southern greed and suggesting that the family that preys together stays together." — The Guardian (UK)

About the Playwright:

Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) is considered one of the most acclaimed American dramatists of the first half of the twentieth century. In an era that largely favoured lighthearted romantic plays and drawing-room comedies, her works explored the human capacity for malice, the allure of power and money, and the dichotomy between individual interests and social conscience. She was also the first woman to be admitted into the previously all-male club of American "dramatic literature", primarily on the basis of two enormously successful plays from the 1930s: The Children's Hour and The Little Foxes.

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