Thursday, March 15, 2012

Columnist praises cast in Rabbit Hole

By Joshua Parmenter, Guest Writer

Professor Brian Desmond pulled out all the stops for his last production with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire.

The play opened March 8 and played through Saturday and Sunday and will continue this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a closing Sunday at 2 p.m in Eastvold Auditorium.

Rabbit Hole is the heartbreaking story of Becca and Howie, a couple trying to recover from the accidental death of their four-year-old son, Danny. Danny was killed when he chased the family dog into the street and was hit by a car eight months before the start of the play.

Becca’s mother, Nat, and her younger sister, Izzy, try to comfort the family while dealing with their own grief. When Izzy, the family troublemaker, announces that she is pregnant, Becca and Howie must come to terms with the new life in the family while dealing with their grief.

Jason, the young man who accidentally killed Danny, comes to their home. He has written a story about parallel universes, or "rabbit holes," in which those who die live on in another world. His visit helps Becca realize the family must move on.

The set is close enough to the audience to make you feel like you are in Becca and Howie’s home, witnessing their trials up close. You will find yourself at once laughing to the point of tears at the light-hearted humor and the next second crying from their grief.

Desmond does an excellent job of getting the audience members to lose themselves in the world of Becca and Howie, forcing audience members to go on this emotional rollercoaster ride. As a whole, the play amazingly covers every square inch of the performance with realism, from the hardwood floors and marble countertops to the emotions conveyed by the actors.

The cast of Rabbit Hole is simply astonishing — subtle, brutally funny and tender. Senior Kate Howland does excellent work playing Becca, as does senior Jordan Beck playing Howie as a caring man who hides his pain as much as possible, making it more difficult to deal with his son’s death. Senior Abigail Pishaw plays Nat, the very talkative and extremely funny grandmother who will set you laughing in the middle of a serious moment.

This production also includes two first-year students, Mitchell Helton and Emily Biggs, who both impress with their performances. Biggs plays Izzy, Becca’s edgy and brash sister, who often leaves the audience laughing. Helton does a tremendous job portraying Jason, impressively balancing awkwardness and seriousness and warming up the room with his quirky personality, moving us to tears with his letter to Becca.

The show is therapeutic to the heart, whether or not you've experienced loss. It shows how loss is, Nat says, “like a brick in your pocket. And it never goes away, which can be... fine...actually.”