It’s New York Week on the Theatrefolk Blog! Today we talk about The Little Foxes. An avant-garde deconstruction of Hellman’s play. Did the high concept do justice to the script?
Hello, we are here in our last day in New York. So, sad! Talking about the shows that we saw, so last night, we went to the New York Theatre Workshop and we saw ‘The Little Foxes’ by Lillian Hellman. The Little Foxes in a nutshell is basically your uber-dysfunctional family. The characters step over and on each other to get what they want. When I talk about conflict with my writing students I always say that conflict is the obstacle in the way of a character getting what they want. And if you give a character a strong enough want, they will go to extraordinary means to get it, to deal with the obstacle and that is The Little Foxes in spades. I loved the show and I know Craig did too and so Craig tell us what you thought.
This was a very very what you would call an avant-guard interpretation of this classic script. Now, the theatre is a black box and what they did was, there really wasn’t too much of a set. The entire floor of the stage was covered in royal purple velvet, the walls were floor to celling in royal purple velvet and the ceiling itself was just white velvet. And there was not even any furniture on stage. Where characters might have the impulse to sit in the play they either just sat on the floor or leaned against one of the walls. And if you know anything about this play that is a very very very no- traditional way of staging it. Now, but somehow it still all worked. And I think it worked because everybody was committed to the vision. And when you have a vision for your play, you have to be on board 100%, the actors have to be on board 100%, the stage management, designers, everybody has to be on board 100%. And when everybody is all committed to that vision and that common goal, that’s when you are going to get a successful production of something that seems so odd. Lindsay what did you think about the play?
Okay, so there are two things that I despise in theatre: screaming and crying, and most of the characters in The Little Foxes spend most of their time either screaming or crying. And it didn’t bother me in the slightest and I think it was because the moments were so deliberately chosen, one. And they were balanced by moments of extreme quiet, where you’re just on pins and needles basically waiting for any moment where someone could fly off the handle. And that is really important. If you are going to have characters go to emotional extremes, you can’t just do it willy-nilly. It’s got to be deliberately chosen, it’s got to fit the play, it’s got to fit the moment and I really appreciated the work that everybody did on this play. I loved it. I was in the world of the play from moment one to moment end and I was into the world of the characters, you know so much so that, you know I’m like, “Oh don’t do it! Don’t hit her! Don’t go up the stairs!” And it was a moment of really loving theatre and it made me really glad that I was sitting in that seat.
For two hours with no intermission.
It was two hours with no inter- Oh that was the other thing. We walked in and went, “Two hours with no intermission?” I hate that, I hate that people sort of, productions trap you like that and I loved it for the whole time and I didn’t even, like, think about it. OK. That’s it for The Little Foxes.