I recently read the Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman. I read the memoir Scoundrel Time by Hellman last winter and it was really good. It was interesting reading about her experiences with the silly black list b.s. of the 50’s in that book. I wasn’t that familiar with Hellman before, seeing their name around but not reading anything by them up to that point. I found a copy of this play at one of my favorite used bookstores and enjoyed the play a lot. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. It deals with a family who are pretty well off but they are in the process of making an even better deal with their cotton business. They have their hand in a lot of businesses in their community and are all about just being greedy about money for the most part. Most of the family, the one’s who are wanting to make the deal are shady, manipulative, not to be trusted and everyone in the family is kind of tight-knit in terms of how they work with each other or see each other pretty often even though they know they can’t trust one another really. I’m surprised none of them had ended up bat-shit crazy with how some of the characters seem just really difficult to deal with.
The story focuses on how one of the older members of the family is dealing with bad health and how the family needs them the most to contribute money to the deal they are trying to work out with an outside investor. Most members of the family are very racist and sexist, mistreating their workers and one of the wive’s in the play. The story is still relevant today I think and reminds me a similar situation to a degree with the fracking industry booming around here. The older member of the family Horace, isn’t wanting to be part of the deal because he sees it as just ruining the community even more, mistreating most of the people that would work there and the family hasn’t really been much of a big contributor to the community for years to begin with from his point of view. But Horace has more awareness of it now and would rather spend his time doing more good if he can. The end of the play is maybe kind of a downer but it is surprising and the story is well written. You don’t know how it’s going to end or what direction it’s going in which I liked, the end especially.
I still have yet to read the Children’s Hour by Hellman.