Little Foxes Speaks Truth to Power

As I was sitting down to write this review, I was struck by one thing in particular. This is one of the rare times I have sat down to write a review of a play written by a woman, directed by a woman. Obviously I’ve done it before, but it’s been a little while for me, and I jumped at the chance to do so.

Epic included in their “Truth to Power” season a classic: Lillian Hellman’s Little Foxes — a piece that I admittedly have not read in almost two decades. This play tells the story of a family so desperate for power that they will stop at nothing to obtain it. In the midst of this are the powerless victims trying to survive in their world.

Kate Lester has assembled a top-notch cast. She stripped down the script and ensured that the one thing that matters the most are the words Hellman wrote almost 100 years ago. The simple yet all-encompassing set gives the audience member a “fly on the wall” feel throughout the night. The play doesn’t call for actors to break the fourth wall, but you are right there with them through every lie and manipulation.

There isn’t enough time to speak of every talented actor in this show, so some quick highlights. Stephanie Traversa’s portrayal of Birdie is hauntingly beautiful from the get-go. Steph Rodgers’ Regina is chilling, and Katrina Rossi does a superb job as her character is ping-ponged between those who care for her, and those who care for what she can do for them. And Michael Petrarca’s Oscar made me scared for those onstage and wanting to throw something at him because he was so vile.

Hellman’s dialogue speaks truth today. The men in this play are quick to point out the place of women in their society. Birdie is constantly being told by her abusive husband that she’s out of place, and Ben reminds his sister, “Regina, you’re a fool! How many times did Mama tell you it’s unwise for a good-lookin’ woman to frown? How many times have I told you that softness and a smile will do more to the hearts of men?” As recent events have shown us, women today are still told that by those who seek to harm them, and by the vile comments sections on social media. Even during the current Time’s Up movement, women are being asked why they’re speaking up now. I left Epic Theatre this weekend and these were just some of the thoughts that hit me. In fact, I’m still gathering my thoughts about this amazing production, which is one you do not want to miss. The performances, the conversation it will undoubtedly provoke — this is everything you want from local theater.   

The Little Foxes runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm until January 27 at Theatre 82, 82 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Head over to their website at epictheatreri.org for more information.

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