Greedy family grabs center stage

0228_foxes_thumb_web.jpgThe story of the Hubbard family is one of corruption, greed, immorality and relationships. The play “The Little Foxes” features the tale of siblings Regina, Ben and Oscar Hubbard and has become one of the great classics of American theatre.

Set in the post-Civil War Deep South, the play’s author, Lillian Hellman, was a communist and wrote the play with anti-capitalism in mind during the Great Depression. The play is being directed by Kathleen McKinley, who said she is proud to have “The Little Foxes” at Fresno State’s University Theatre.

“This play is like the scary prequel to how money came to be the most important aspect of society,” McKinley said. “Looking into Donald Trump’s living room and overhearing his conversations with his family would be similar to overhearing the Hubbard family. This plays shows the dark side of capitalism.”

The characters themselves are entertaining as well. “These characters are extreme in their greed, selfishness and manipulations,” McKinley said. “They are deliciously villainous characters because you will love to hate them.”

“It is like a contest between the three siblings with their manipulations about who can sink the lowest,” McKinley said. “These characters represent what is wrong with America. They made their wealth from taking advantage of people suffering after the Civil War.”

McKinley said that as the story moves along, the Hubbards’ web of deceptions only grows, which is fun to watch. Plus, audiences already enjoy watching wealthy families struggle with relationships on television shows like “The O.C.” and “Brothers & Sisters,” she said.

“The Little Foxes” is popular with most audiences, and students are no exception. “This play deals with misplaced values, racism, sexism, many of which are relatable to students,” McKinley said. “There are also family issues involved. Regina’s daughter Alexandra is a teenager and she examines the way that her parents behave. She wonders, ‘Is it time to separate from my family?’ She represents the hope for the future.”

The play sends a very important message about America, said sophomore Jordan Roberts who portrays Oscar Hubbard in the play. “It is about what happens when people take capitalism and exploit it,” he said. “Anyone can be blinded so much by what they want that they’ll do anything to get it. The story is intriguing because it touches a political base without ramming it down your throat. It is interesting for the audience to watch the three of us go at it, since we are all terrible people.”

“People may feel ashamed that they begin to cheer for them a little bit,” McKinley said.

The play’s lead role is Regina Hubbard, who is portrayed by sophomore Hayley Galbraith. “Regina is a really complex character from an actor’s perspective,” Galbraith said. “She is thought of as a villain by some, but she is in a powerless position after her father’s death, with a daughter to look after. She tries to regain a sense of ownership of her life, and she goes to extremes to get this.”

Regina’s brother Oscar is “the one who most desperately wants to be a player, but isn’t,” Roberts said. “He is a really short-fused, powder keg kind of fellow. He is in a very unhappy, abusive marriage and he married his wife only so he could get her cotton fields.”

Junior Jay Felix takes on the part of Ben Hubbard and was enthusiastic about being involved in “The Little Foxes,” which he said is an iconic play. “The Hubbards are some of the best parts in theater,” Felix said. “They are kind of jerks, which makes them fun characters to play. The Hubbards are hated by everyone in their community because they cheated people like Civil War soldiers and slaves out of money. The Hubbards’ money is ill-gotten and they are also always at each other’s throats, and I think that is important for story-telling.”

For Felix, this is a play that should be seen by everyone, even those who may not like other theatrical productions.

“‘The Little Foxes’ will be a really good experience all around, especially for students who are made to go because of a class assignment and would end up hating other plays,” he said. “I feel especially strong about this play. Everything about it is solid, from the production to the acting.”

“If you just want really good story-telling and characters that you will love to hate, come see this play,” Felix said. “I think people will be pleasantly surprised.”

Galbraith concurred. “This play is very accessible to any audience,” she said. “If you like money or have problems with your family, then you can relate to this play.”

“The Little Foxes” debuts March 2 in the John Wright Theatre. The performances will be on March 2-4 and March 6-10.

The play begins at 8 p.m., except for Sundays when it starts at 2. It is a three act play with a duration of two and a half hours, including two intermissions. Tickets are $8 for students, $13 for staff and $15 for the general public. To purchase tickets, go to www.csufresno.edu/Theatre or call 278-2216.

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