"Take us the foxes, the little foxes,
PROGRAM NOTES- compiled by Nicholas Bradford
that spoil the vines;
for our vines have tender grapes."
Song of Solomon: 2.15
“America's abundance was not created by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes.”
“If you can actually count your money, then you're not a rich man.”
-J. Paul Getty
“I don't make deals for the money. I've got enough, much more than I'll ever need. I do it to do it.”
“A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.”
“This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.”
About the Playwright:
Lillian Florence Hellman was born in New Orleans on June 20th, 1905, the only child of Julia Newhouse Hellman and Max Hellman. When she was growing up, her family lived half the year in New York City with her mother's family, the Newhouses, and the other half in New Orleans in a boarding house run by her father's sisters. Hellman attended Wadleigh High School in New York but dropped out of New York University after her junior year and worked as a reader for publishing houses, as a book reviewer for The New York Herald Tribune, and as a play reader for theatrical producers. At age 20, she married playwright and press agent Arthur Kober and the couple moved to France and later Hollywood where Hellman worked as a script reader. In Hollywood, Hellman met mystery writer Dashiell Hammett and, when her marriage to Kober ended in divorce in 1932, Hellman began a relationship with Hammett that would last until his death in 1961. For nearly thirty years, the two were lovers, confidantes and professional collaborators, though their on-again-off-again affair was volatile due to their penchant for drink, his infidelity and their socialist political activism.
Hellman’s early playwriting came to fruition with the successful debut of her first play, The Children’s Hour, in 1934. Her second play, Days to Come (1936), opened on Broadway and closed in a week. But when The Little Foxes opened to critical acclaim and popular enthusiasm on Broadway in 1939, Hellman’s name became fixed as one of the pre-eminent playwrights of her time and the play has remained a popular fixture in the American repertory since. Her career continued with major plays including Watch on the Rhine (1940), The Searching Wind (1944), Another Part of the Forest (1946), The Autumn Garden (1951) and Toys in the Attic (1960). She also wrote extensively for film, including the screenplay adaptations of many of her plays.
Hellman’s career came to an abrupt halt when she was called before the House Committee on Un-America Activities in 1952. When asked, Hellman refused to deliver the names of colleagues she believed had communist affiliations, declaring that she would not commit dishonorable actions simply to conform to current trends. Though never convicted of any crime, Hellman was blacklisted from theatre and film work until the early 1960’s.
Later in her life, Hellman wrote a famed memoir trilogy consisting of An Unfinished Woman (1969), Pentimento (1973), and Scoundrel Time (1976). She also taught writing classes at the University of New York, Yale, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in 1964 was presented with a Gold Medal by The National Institute of Arts. Lillian Hellman died in her home in Martha’s Vineyard on June 30th, 1984.