Canadian theater festival to perform famous Demopolis-based play

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; Lillian Hellman is a well-known name in Demopolis, and her plays are even more well-known by the rest of the country. Soon, her play &8220;The Little Foxes,&8221; which made its debut on Broadway in 1939, will have yet another new life when the Canadian theater company, the Shaw Festival performs their rendition this spring.

Director Eda Holmes and actor David Jansen, who will play the role of Horace Giddens, made the journey to Demopolis Friday from Canada to do some research on the setting of Hellman’s famous play.

Holmes, who was born in Florida and has family in Brewton, said she came to Demopolis after learning of the play’s origin on the Internet. She said the play’s specificity of economic issues is something that seems very pertinent to today’s landscape.

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Jansen, who is from Michigan, said this was his first trip to Alabama. His goal in taking a tour of the city is to get a better feel for the culture.

In Canada, he said, the South is seen as a somewhat &8220;exotic&8221; place, and often the most knowledge anyone there has about the region is gained from movies, television or other forms of media. He said he hopes to avoid those stock impressions and bring to his character a real sense of the place and time of Hellman’s play.

Part of their plans while in Demopolis was to visit the places referenced in the play, including the city square and a bank that is now West Alabama Real Estate.

The play is about two brothers who put together a business deal to build a cotton mill in their town. Determined to become aristocracy material, the Hubbard brothers look to their sister, Regina, and her husband, Horace, to help fund the endeavor. After battling an illness, the brothers look to get Horace’s money without his approval and the stage is set for an epic family battle.