New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rutgers Theater Company presents Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest

(New Brunswick, NJ) --  Jealousy, revenge, plotting, airs of desperation--if the Kardashians were wearing higher necklines and lived in 1880s Alabama, they would feel right at home in Rutgers Theater Company's Another Part of the Forest, opening Tuesday, October 1, and running through Sunday, October 6, 2013, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. New Jersey residents involved in the production include cast member Kate Villanova of Montclair, director Kevin Kittle of Bergen County, and designers Seancolin Hankins of Freehold, Rachel Pollard of Metuchen, and Jason M. Flamos of Murray Hill.

Written in 1946 by Lillian Hellman as a prequel to her 1939 Broadway hit The Little Foxes, Another Part of the Forest is the story of the devious Hubbard family: characters exhibiting varying degrees of cruelty, selfishness, and a penchant for back-stabbing.

"What's wonderful about this play is that it's like a prime-time soap opera about family members who are just nasty to each other," director Kevin Kittle says. "It explains a certain aspect of human nature—it's very political. It's just nasty fun."

Regina (later Mrs. Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes), a sweet belle with a mean streak, and her two brothers, foolish Oscar and conniving Benjamin, live under the tyranny of their greedy father Marcus, who grew wealthy as a Civil War swindler. Regina and Benjamin lust for wealth and power while Oscar simply lusts for Laurette, the local prostitute. Benjamin is armed with damning secrets about his father and is poised to topple the entire family.

There is, however, a "sliver of hope" in the character of Lavinia, mother of the Hubbard clan and "redeemer of the family," says Kittle. Abused by her husband and neglected by her children, Lavinia dreams of fleeing the family and repenting for their sins by opening a school for children of former slaves.

But it's mostly blackmail, bargaining, and negotiation for the Hubbards, with a healthy dose of sinister scheming.

"I wanted a play with good parts," Kittle says. "And they just don't write plays like this anymore."

Another Part of the Forest runs from Tuesday, October 1, through Sunday, October 6, 2013, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors, and only $15 for students with valid ID. The Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit www.masongross.rutgers.edu or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511. Please note: The ticket-office number will be 848-932-7511 on or about September 27, 2013.



Caption: (from left) Angel Moore and Kristen Harlow. Photo credit: Larry Levanti