Thankfully for you and me both, “futuristic” does not mean robots and aliens. While it is not so described, the story seems set in a post-war time when society is dysfunctional and nature threatens to overcome it (i.e. it is constantly raining, the forest surrounds the houses, and wild animals are everywhere).
The “parable” part becomes obvious. A parable is a story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson; you know, ala Jesus’ parables. In “Foxfinder”’s case, the moral or spiritual lesson is left for the viewer to determine.
If you press me to tell you what the parable is about, I’ll say… perhaps… religious fanaticism. I’ll explain…
The Foxfinder, whose name is William Bloor (played by Joshua Weinstein) is a 19-year-old who has been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that there are foxes everywhere doing as they want with the crops. He has never seen a fox, but he is convinced the sly animal is out there and that, as long as he keeps on searching, sooner or later he’ll find it. Although he’s young, William is all work and no play, and when his human desires overwhelm him, he self-flagellates! Now, doesn’t such zealotry associate most often with religion?
Samuel and Judith (Bibles names, please notice), played by Shawn Lee and Sara Hennesy, are confused, disappointed with life, willing to agree with William if it means that he’ll spare them any more pain; malleable to the point of nearly losing their minds, willing to cave in, to sacrifice themselves as long as William stops pressuring them. (I know religious people who say yes and belong to a group mostly so that other people will leave them alone, or in the case of certain cults… so that they won’t be left completely alone!)
Sarah, completing the cast and played by Amanda Soden, is a rebel. She doesn’t believe that there is any fox. She has anti-fox propaganda hidden in her home and she hands it out to her friend Judith. And when things get heated she realizes the others are much too crazy, and rather than waiting to see what happens, she gets her family together and takes off. There’s no convincing her, but she knows there is also no chance to convince the others.
This is a world in which some believe blindly in the power of the fox… and others believe there is no fox at all. So, could the fox be… God?!?
Well, that’s the story I made in my head, but playwright Dawn King has never said what the actual meaning of the parable is. She did say in an interview, however, that the story is “about belief and desire.” You need to go and figure out what the fox turns out to be for you, because it could as well be a guerrilla group against an oppressive government, or your government forcing you believe in “reasons” for war that just aren’t there… just about anything, really. That’s the beauty of the play – it can mean whatever, depending on what you have in your head.
The acting is good, I found myself absorbed. The climax scene is well done. I even asked Weinstein afterwards just how much letting go like that hurt… but I won’t say anymore!
“Foxfinder” contains adult material (sex and violence) so it is not suitable for children. It is only 90-minutes long without an intermission. Tickets are $20. It will run Friday through Sunday until February 2. The Carrie Hamilton Theatre is a small space, upstairs over redwhite+bluezz. Casual dress is just fine. Purchase tickets at www.pasadenaplayhouse.org
Photo credit: Owen Carey