A View From The Cliff


By Queens Courier Staff |

TALC’s “Little Foxes” Is Big Hit
BY CLIFF KASDEN
Beloved executive producer Pat Battestin rallied from her sick bed to attend the Sunday performance of Theatre a La Carte’s (TALC’s) version of “The Little Foxes.” Unfolding in the Deep South at the start of the 20th Century, director John Emro and producer Susan Emro interpret this cautionary tale with intelligence and sensitivity.
Showcased at 39-50 Douglaston Parkway in the Community Church of Douglaston, the ten actors are engaging and articulate. Continuing to emerge as a multi-layered performer, local favorite Ed Schuldner provides genuine intensity to the role of Horace, the shrewd, long-suffering patriarch of the Giddens family.
His bitter enemies include his stunning but sadistic wife Regina (Julianna Viviani). She relentlessly seeks to break away from her husband, as she steals his wealth and perhaps his very life. Viviani is debuting with the troupe and promises to be a very welcome addition to Queens’ stages.
His bitter enemies include his stunning but sadistic wife Regina (Julianna Viviani). She relentlessly seeks to break away from her husband, as she steals his wealth and perhaps his very life. Viviani is debuting with the troupe and promises to be a very welcome addition to Queens’ stages.
Horace’s lovely daughter Alexandra (Justyne Harris) is as kind as her mother is cruel. Will she be forced to break away from her sheltered world to save her father’s reputation? Harris will undoubtedly create a niche for her dramatic talents in Queens and beyond.
Opposing the Giddens for southern supremacy are the Hubbards. They are led by ruthless Benjamin (Robert Kirsch), his weak brother Oscar (Michael D’Emidio) and nephew Leo (Jeremy Ritz). All three skillfully embrace their roles as sinister schemers. It is truly fascinating to watch close blood relations behave in such a calculating and selfish manner towards each other.
The three-act play is extremely powerful, requiring close attention from start to finish. Depicting a variation on the timeless battle of good versus evil, it could have been plucked from today’s reality shows. The supporting players help sustain this mood as well.
Fragile heiress Birdie (Jeryl Ann Costello) yearns for the lost strength of her parents. Once carefree, she is now expressionless. Her will has been broken by the vindictive Hubbards.
Mr. Marshall (Christopher Ratto) is blinded by the prospect of new wealth and by Regina’s beauty. Even the family’s in-house staff (played by Setor Attipoe and Holmes Lindsay IV) is caught between the two clashing clans. Their flashes of emotion speak volumes about that era in southern history and about human nature today. Well done.
Lighting and sound (Bill Haas, Susan Emro) are used very effectively to punctuate the play’s dramatic moments. The sets (Emros, Ed Battestin, Judy Chanin) are also first rate. Kudos as well belong to Stage Manager Lisa Oranges, Assistant Director Dana Jaffe and Joyce Moyal. Rounding out support behind the scenes are Alain LaForest, Lea Peterson (pianist), the Lothians, Glenn MacDonald, Nicole Oranges and Alice Kasten.
The play runs weekends until May 6, with that final Sunday’s performance already sold out. This version of Lillian Hellman’s drama is not to be missed. Call 718-631-4092 or email TheatreALaCarte@aol.com.
Performances on stage this spring are showing their first blooms. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.