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CAMD Professor and Alumnus Reinterpret an American Classic Through a Contemporary Feminist Lens

Photo by Mark Howard.

Theatre department chair Scott Edmiston, who has directed award-winning productions of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night, is taking on another American classic: Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. His production runs through March 17 at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. It is the 12th production he has directed since arriving at Northeastern in fall 2014.

Hellman’s drama captures the story of one family’s pursuit of financial success at any human cost. In the post-Civil War South, Regina Giddens and her brothers, Oscar and Ben, want to partner on a business deal that will exploit the poor to increase their already substantial wealth. Regina’s husband, Horace, sees the corporation as immoral and refuses to give them the funds they need — setting in motion a vicious chess game of duplicitous dealings.

The Lyric production features the professional debut of CAMD alumna Rosa Procaccino ’18 in the key role of Regina’s daughter, Alexandra Giddens. In 2017, Procaccino studied Hellman’s play with Professor Edmiston in his Northeastern course Classics of 20th Century American Drama.

“I auditioned many other actresses, but I knew that Rosa would give an original and exciting interpretation of the character,” said Edmiston, who previously directed her in two Northeastern productions.

Photo by Mark Howard.

In the Metro West Daily, Edmiston explained: “You could look at the play as the evolution of Alexandra, the awakening of her social consciousness. She has to make a choice about what kind of person she wants to be. In some ways, the play is a call to action. When you believe people are doing immoral things, what are you willing to do to stop them?”

The Lyric production has been lauded for its revisionist, feminist look at its female characters. “Hellman really understands the ways in which women don’t neatly fill certain molds,” Procaccino said in a Dig Boston interview.

Edge Media Network wrote: “Edmiston’s splendid, immersive-feeling production reconsiders the play’s heroine, or rather anti-heroine — Regina Giddens — through a contemporary, feminist lens, underscoring that her steely manner stems from her being a victim of male patriarchy…It’s thrilling to watch.” The Boston Globe called the production: “sizzling” and “still relevant.” WGBH reported: “This is the American family scraped bare and raw in a production that’s perfectly unrelenting in its intensity. It’s our fortune that director Scott Edmiston has revived this scorching drama.”

Photo by Mark Howard.