Davidson College production of “The Little Foxes” Nov. 16-20

The Davidson Theatre Department invites the public to a production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes November 16 – 20.

Performances will be in The Barber Theatre of the Cunningham Theatre Center on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. General admission is $8, $5 for faculty, staff, and seniors, and $4 for students. Tickets can be purchased by calling 704-894-2135 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at www.davidson.edu/tickets. The play is recommended for ages 12 and up.

The play, set at the turn of the 20th century, chronicles the ruination of an esteemed southern family whose members place more importance on money than blood ties. The Hubbard siblings attempt to strike a deal with a Chicago businessman to build a cotton mill, but greed, corruption, and familial backstabbing get in the way. The play’s title is taken from a biblical verse in the Song of Solomon that reads, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

Director Kia Hunter ’12 will focus on the feminist issues in the play. The play’s central character is Regina Giddens, a Hubbard sibling who must convince her ailing husband to take part in the business deal. Regina may come off as conniving and manipulative, but Hunter aims to highlight the male power struggles Regina is fighting against.

“It’s really easy to blame Regina more than her brothers, but considering the time period, Regina isn’t left with many options,” said Hunter. “She’s forced into a loveless marriage, oppressed by both her husband and her brothers. Modern audiences often make snap judgments about characters, and we’re definitely still susceptible to reverting back to stereotypes.”

Christine Noah ’14, who plays Regina, aims to make her character more sympathetic. “Regina is a cold character who is the antagonist of the play, but there’s more to her than that,” said Noah. “She wants people to respect her. I’ve worked to make her more human, and I want to emphasize how she is forced to operate within oppressive power structures.”

Hunter says the staging will reflect the feminist focus of the play. Wooden beams that resemble a birdcage surround the Giddens’ living room, where much of the action takes place, and thus highlight the confinement that the female characters especially must endure.

Creative blocking enhances the caged-in effect. The male characters move freely about the stage while the female characters are largely restricted to the cage structure. Female costumes will include corsets, feathers and lace, further adding to the metaphor of a caged bird.

The play’s drama comes from the family dynamics rather than intense action, which presented a bit of a challenge for the actors. “We have to look very closely at the language to figure out exactly what our characters are saying and what motivates them,” Noah said. “The writing is fabulous; there are lines that will give you chills.”

Hunter added, “It’s a wordy play – no fight scenes – but it’s powerful, and the end of each act hits you hard.” said Hunter. “The play’s focus on the family is what drew me to direct it. I love family plays. Family dynamics speak to everyone.”

In addition to Noah in the role of Regina, The Little Foxes cast includes Davidson students Timmy Basista ’15, Kelvin Bates ’12, Chris Blanchard ’14, Connor Hubbard ’13, Amos McCandless ’14, Megan Pratt ’13, Ally Rice ’12, Maddie Saidenberg ’15 and Patrick Scully ’12. Kaylin Gess ’12 designed the lighting.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.