Wilton Back at the Donmar for The Little FoxesDate: 4 June 2001
Penelope Wilton (pictured) is to star in a revival of Lillian Hellman's 1930s drama The Little Foxes. The production opens at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre on 10 October 2001, with previews from 4 October. Tickets are available from 25 June and the show, directed by Marianne Elliott, will run until 24 November.
The inspiration for Hellman's play was undoubtedly her own family, whose wealth was acquired through exploitative business ventures in the American south. The drama is based around the Hubbards, and their relentless quest for money and power at the expense of their cotton mill workforce. Touching upon themes of racism, arranged marriages and the equality of women, The Little Foxes portrays a household ruptured by its own greed.
Wilton last appeared at the Donmar in Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska in the summer of 1998, and also performed in the RSC's The Seagull at the Barbican last spring. In addition to her stage career, Wilton has starred in numerous films including Clockwise, Cry Freedom and The Borrowers, plus the popular television series Ever Decreasing Circles. Marianne Elliott is an Associate Artistic Director of the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, with credits including award-winning productions of Martin Yesterday, Fast Food and Nude With Violin. Her other work includes events with Hull Truck Theatre and the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park.
The Little Foxes premiered on Broadway in 1939, running at the National Theatre for a year. The title's source may be traced to the Bible's Song of Solomon which appears in Hellman's script: "Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes." The allegory is generally interpreted to implicate the land-spoiling Hubbards as the foxes. In 1941, the play was turned into a movie starring Bette Davies, which received eight Oscar nominations. An opera based on the story, entitled Regina, was later created by Marc Blitzstein.
- by Gareth Thompson