Manhattan Theatre Club’s presentation of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes succeeds in stressing the domestic issues within a complex family dynamic in Alabama during the early 1900s. Cynthia Nixon is ruthless, icy and fierce, and successfully conveys the idea of seeking justice, and battling sexist viewpoints and judgements throughout her portrayal. Although one may view her character as a vile for letting her husband die, it was crucial to exhibit Regina’s lack of empathy and detachment from any morals – in order to illuminate her desire for change: no longer be silenced, dominated and manipulated by any male. It is strongly suggested that Regina knew how her life potentially turned out – if she stayed married – like Birdie’s. This was her only salvation.
Laura Linney played the silenced, dominated and submissive Birdie. Her character’s dialogue was staccato like, and the lack of voice was clearly noted, highlighting the position women held in society during the 1900s. Brutal scenes of her husband Oscar abusing verbally were included, in addition to a glimpse of the physical abuse. The scene of her sitting silently on a chair on the corner of the stage was poignant, in addition to her drinking addiction- all highlight her impulse to escape, simultaneously highlighting her inability to do so.
With strong and intense performances from the rest of the supporting cast, this play is more applicable to today than to when it was originally produced. Congratulations to the cast and company for winning 3 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Actress in a Play (Linney), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Nixon) and Outstanding Costume Design (Jane Greenwood). Congratulations to Cynthia Nixon on her second Tony Award, for her performance in The Little Foxes.
The Little Foxes is currently playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. I entered the TodayTix Rush sale at 10:00AM the day of the performance, and got $30 tickets, for the front row of the mezzanine, which was great value.