The Little Foxes

by Lillian Hellman

Spring 1997

On the surface The Little Foxes is a family melodrama—action focuses on the tensions between Regina and her brothers, and Oscar. Hellman's real interest lies in exposing their behavior for what it is; she skewered members of her own family in this play, and so the characters have the bitter ring of personal experience.

The play presented us with two challenges in the area of ethnic sensitivity. First, there are two African American characters, and very few such actors at Dordt. Secondly, the play uses the word "nigger" very freely. While we have as usual edited the casual blasphemy from our production, we debated how to handle this word. In deciding to use masked Caucasian actors to play Cal and Addie, a solution presented itself. By casting a small chorus of similarly masked dancers, we found means to make clear a loving response to racism, and also a means to deepen the melodramatic dramaturgy of the play. We don't feel ourselves to be politically correct or free from racism; we are simply trying to present images and themes from American history that emerge from the text of the play in its Southern setting. We hope that, through the experience of this show, all of us may grow a little closer to Christ's loving embrace of all humanity.