Category Archive for: ‘David Hirzel’

Pacifica Spindrift: “The Little Foxes” come home

The notes I made at intermission refer to the strong performances by all the actors in what amounted to an ensemble piece:  each of them came onstage, thoroughly created their characters and laid out their part in the framework for the story. Especially noteworthy during the first two scenes: Laurie Wall’s “Birdie Hubbard” barely controlled her developing mental breakdown, and Bethany Friedel’s expertly nuanced teenaged “Zan Giddens” brought a few laughs from those in the audience who knew adolescents well.  Kris Carey’s “Oscar Hubbard” was brimming with the suppressed rage of a dominated younger brother to John Szabo’s cool, macchiavellian “Ben Hubbard” as they negotiated a seamy business deal with John Tranchitell’s “Mr. Marshall.”  All this in the first two acts of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

The Director’s Notes comment that Ms. Hellman “had not meant for audiences to think of her characters as villains to whom they had no connection. but to recognize some part of themselves in the money-dominated Hubbards.”  In this she was disappointed.  In me I suppose.  Nothing of me in there.  I did however recognize, in Ben, my cousin.  But I digress. . . .

In the final two acts after intermission, The Little Foxes really, I mean really caught fire.  The impressive work of the first half was just setting the stage for some really powerful performances by everyone in the cast remaining onstage.  One by one each came to the fore, expressing the passion, the despair and resignation, the resilience developed when greed and lust for money betray ordinary familial affection and self-respect.   Collin Wenzel’s Leo finally realizes he’s been “had” by his own father and uncle.  Joy Eaton’s “Regina Giddens,” facing the audience, finally reveals the origin of her cold calculating greed.  There is tragedy enough for everyone here.  Its source is the love of money.

I had a word with director Jim Sousa after the show.  He let his actors run with their parts.  Wise man.  His choice of shades of gray for the set, with bursts of color here and there, served to emphasize the bleakness of the script, and the lives of the characters.

A fine production.  I can’t say enough.

Through May 19, 2013

Theatre website:  Pacifica Spindrift Players

Box Office:  650-359-8002

Review by David Hirzel www.davidhirzel.net