If you're unfamiliar with Hellman or little Foxes it is about a family living in Alabama in 1901. The story is about how the brothers and sister chose to con and swindle each other over a possible million dollar business deal. My character Addie, is the housekeeper and cook, a former slave owned by the family before the Civil War ended thirty some odd years ago.
From The Little Foxes (1941), a Lillian Hellman play-to-film adaptation,Director William Wyler.
Birdie (Patricia Collinge),Addie (Jessica Grayson), Alexandra Giddens (Teresa Wright), Horace Giddens (Herbert Marshall)
I don't have many lines in the play, most of the action centers on the three siblings, Ben, the oldest and in charge; Regina the only daughter and who the play is about, and Oscar, the youngest son, a coward, a bully, and the doer of dirty work.
Addie is much like women I grew up with, she is many of the women I've been studying for the Underground Railroad residency I teach through Young Audiences. In this role exploring this part of post-Civil War America is challenges the way I choose to approach the work of acting.
As a Black actor in 21st century America playing Addie offers me emotional challenges and forces me to explore how to successfully answer some questions about race relations. The play is an excellent study and I am curious to what younger people think about these issues after they have seen the play. Rehearsals have just begun and so has the journey.