Richly Drawn Characters in RABBIT HOLE at Footlighters of Berwyn

by Connie Giordano

After a Labor Day weekend opening, David Lindsay-Abaire’s RABBIT HOLE will be presented for one final weekend at Footlighters Theater.  Directed by Sarah Sperling and produced by Susan Scott, the play is a poignant drama about grief, loss and the collateral damage that so often follows a senseless tragedy.  Though a definite drama, Lindsay-Abaire’s story is peppered with plenty of humor and articulate banter.  It was the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and a 2006 Tony award for best actress in a play to Cynthia Nixon in the lead role as Becca, the grieving mother.  It was later adapted for the screen with a 2010 limited release starring Nicole Kidman.

Set in Larchmont, New York in present day, the story unfolds quickly with the playwright’s efficient and creative choice of dialogue that immediately draws the audience in.  A tragedy looms over the house from four months earlier, a horrible car accident leading to the death of the only child to Becca (Janet Abbott) and Howie Corbett.  We soon meet the other cast of characters in this somber setting: the rash younger sister Izzy, aptly portrayed by newcomer Emily Sturz; Becca’s eccentric mother Nat (Deb Miehl); Hugh Abbott as Howie, and Nick Marcil as Jason, the young man responsible for the accident.

Hugh Abbott in a scene from RABBIT HOLE.

Hugh Abbott in a scene from RABBIT HOLE.

Like other pieces from Lindsay-Abaire, (Good People) the focus of this powerful drama is the cast of characters, with very little action and plot.  The characters are richly drawn with sharp wit and heartfelt sensitivity, and the story so real, that this audience member doesn’t mind the sole attention to character.  This drama reveals the different coping mechanisms of grief-stricken people in different stages of life, in a thoughtful and beautiful stage picture.  However it is not just a tragic story meant to tug on heart strings, it is also hopeful, believable, and inviting.

I wanted more attention to detail that would have enriched the production overall, like music and lighting focus for poignant moments.  Young Nick Marcil was believable as the tormented Jason, and Hugh Abbott had the energy of the frustrated father searching for relief from his mourning.  Some of the performances were somewhat labored at times, but young director Sperling’s ambitious choice in such a powerful drama is to be admired.

by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Sarah Sperling
August 30 – September 14, 2013
Footlighters Theater
58 Main Avenue Berwyn, PA
(610) 296-9245

You may also like

Leave a Reply