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The Little Foxes

by Lillian Hellman Directed by Eda Holmes "There are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it ... Then there are people who stand around and watch them eat it." In a small town in the deep South, two brothers, Ben and Oscar Hubbard put together a business deal to build a cotton mill in their town. Determined to be a part of plantation aristocracy, they find themselves in need of more capital to complete the deal. They turn to their sister Regina and her husband Horace for the extra money. They have written letters to Horace who is ill and in hospital but he never responds to their requests. In order for the family to maintain controlling interest in the business, they need this money. Oscar: Naturally, you are our sister and we want you to benefit from anything that we do. Regina: And in addition to your concern for me, you do not want control to go out of the family. That right, Ben? Ben: That's cynical. Cynicism is an unpleasant way of telling the truth. Regina resolves that she will get her husband to agree to their terms and sends her young daughter, Alexandra, to bring Horace home, despite his illness. When Alexandra protests, Regina stands firm, "You must let me be the judge of his condition ...Tell your papa that I want him to come home, that I miss him very much." A week passes and Horace has not returned with Alexandra. In desperation, the brothers begin to formulate a plan to get Horace's money without his permission. Suddenly, Horace appears and tells the family that he will not agree to the deal, "We've got enough money, Regina" he tells them, "We'll just sit by and watch the boys grow rich." And so the stage is set for an epic family battle ­ who will eat whom? And who will stand around and watch them eat? Lillian Hellman has written a play centred on the age old sin of greed and her message from 1900 still rings true today: "The century's turning, the world is open. Open for people like you and me. Ready for us, waiting for us. After all this is just the beginning. There are hundreds of Hubbards sitting in rooms like this throughout the country. All their names aren't Hubbard, but they are all Hubbards and they will own this country some day. We'll get along." The Little Foxes was one of Lillian Hellman's most successful plays and in 1946 she wrote another play about the Hubbard family called Another Part of the Forest. The title of the play comes from the Bible, "Take us the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." It opened on Broadway in 1939 with Tallulah Bankhead in a legendary performance as Regina Giddens, followed two years later by a film version starring Bette Davis. Subsequent stage revivals have featured Anne Bancroft, Elizabeth Taylor, and Stockard Channing playing this deliciously treacherous character. New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley wrote of the role, "Few heroines of American theatre are half as much fun as Regina Giddens, an abiding testament to what's so good about being bad in the world of fiction."

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