Rabbit Hole, the Pulitzer prize winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, was shown Friday-Sunday this weekend at Fort Lauderdale’s MUSE Center for the Arts.
The rather small play was about two parents coping with the death of their 4 year old son Danny, who died chasing his dog into the street. In fact, Rabbit Hole consists of only five characters: Howie and Becca (the parents of Danny), Izzy (Becca’s younger sister), Nat (Becca and Izzy’s mother) and Jason (the high school student who accidentally killed Danny with his car). The setting of the play was also very intimate, with one set shown the entire duration of the show. The set consisted of Becca and Howie’s living room, kitchen and a small room in the back to resemble Danny’s bedroom.
Warning: the following contains some spoilers, so refrain from reading if you wish to see the play on your own time. The play, although fairly simple, evoked numerous responses seen from the crowd. From Becca coping with giving away Danny’s belongings, to Howie’s emotional despair when Becca accidentally taped over a home video, to Jason’s meetings with Becca, the play was emotional, poignant and tear welling. Thankfully, there was comedic, silly relief from Nat, who went on a hilarious rant about the Kennedys, and Izzy, the annoying little sister that everyone seems to have.
“Rachel [the actress who played Nat] is making me laugh, but the rest is making me cry,” said an audience member in front of us.” Said a man next to us who casually wiped his eyes the whole time, “You’re not the only one with wet eyes.” In fact, we may or may not have teared up – just saying.
Although the play was emotionally draining and tense at times, it concluded to a somewhat happy ending with Becca and Howie talking about how they will react to numerous questions at a friend’s BBQ, concluding, that they will “get through it”.
Sam, 36, flew down from Canada for vacation and to see her cousin Rachel Smoker play Nat. Her favorite part? Smoker making “everyone laugh through the play”. For characters that couldn’t laugh so easily during the play, such as Becca played by Mary Gundlach, we asked what technique was used to kick to fuel those tear jerking dialogues. “I actually used memories I made up in my head, basically,” Gundlach explained. “I have quiet time before the show and listened to ‘Things’ by Quiet Rabbit…we commit”. Gundlach wasn’t the only one who tapped into different methods to perfect her role in the play. Krystal Millie Valdes had to learn how to learn how to eat and say her lines onstage, and even said that because she eats so healthy, all the treats eaten by her onstage felt like a treat!
The conclusion? Although Rabbit Hole may have been uncomfortable to watch at times because of its in your face honesty and sad themes, the play shows that grist takes time to heal but eventually, you will “get through it”. And that’s a theme we can all relate to.