Reviewed by Tony Annicone
The second show of the 96th season of Community Players is “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsey-Abaire, which won him the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for drama in 2007. Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want until a shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves them drifting perilously apart. The show is a comic drama that focuses on a couple trying to cope with the death of their only child, a four year old son, in a car accident, while Becca’s well meaning mother and off-kilter sister attempt to lift their spirits and deal with their problems, each in her inimitable way. The couple’s lives are further complicated when Jason, the young driver who killed their son contacts them seeking closure. Jason has written a story about quantum immortality where there is a place where ”rabbit holes” lead to parallel universes. However, the theme of this play is the way people handle grief including the death of a child and a suicide of a family member and not about the theory or search for quantum immortality. Director Eric Barbato casts the best five performers in these well written roles.
Eric brings out the comic and dramatic emotions in his talented cast. This play shows how to find hope even in the darkest moments and to find the path to the light of day again. Tammy Mulrooney is wonderful in this show as Becca. She tries to stay busy to take her mind off the family tragedy. The show opens with her folding the clothes of her four year old son, Danny and you gradually learn what has happened during her conversation with her younger sister, Izzy. Tammy displays Becca’s controlled anger and grief which simmer beneath the surface at times. Becca finally explodes at a mother in a supermarket who ignores her five year who wants a fruit roll up, by slapping her face. In one of the poignant moments in the show, she finally breaks down crying when Jason discusses his prom and Becca finally finds closure at this moment. I last reviewed Tammy in “Little Women” at MMAS last year. Dan Fisher plays her husband, Howie excellently. He tries to woo Becca to pick up her spirits by rekindling their physical relationship. When she doesn’t want to do this, he deals with his grief by watching a videotape of Danny. Howie becomes enraged when Becca accidentally erases part of the tape by recording footage of a tornado on the Weather Channel. Dan’s most emotional moment occurs when he breaks down in tears during their argument scene near the end of Act 1. This is where Howie feels Becca is trying to erase the memory of Danny from their lives.
Hollie DiOrio is hilarious as Izzy who constantly eats throughout the show. Izzy always wants to be the center of attention and to cheer Becca up, tells her how she punched a fat woman in the mouth. She also tells her that she’s moving in with her boy friend, Augie but these stories don’t cheer Becca up at all. Izzy is also puzzled when Howie and Becca give her a bathroom set for her birthday. Holly’s most dramatic scene occurs with Dan when she accuses Howie of seeing another woman which Izzy learned from her waitress friend. Becky Minard has a comic role as the mother, Nat. Izzy and Nat are very much alike with them both liking to drink a lot and saying inappropriate things. Her comic highlight occurs during the story about the “Kennedy Curse” where rich people act stupid and want to make things make sense. There is dramatic one when Nat shares her past grief with them. She explains grief is an overwhelming, isolating heavy feeling that never goes away. It’s heavy like a brick. Becky has a funny story about Danny eating chocolate covered expresso beans one time and running all over the place. Hollie and Becky handle the levity needed to balance the heavy moments along the way. Raymond Fournier rounds out the cast as the teenaged driver of the car, Jason. So for a terrific look at a contemporary play that audiences can readily relate to, be sure to catch this well written and well acted show, “Rabbit Hole” at Community Players.
RABBIT HOLE (6 to 15 January)
The Community Players, Jenks Auditorium, 350 Division Street, Pawtucket, RI
1(401)726-6860 or www.thecommunityplayers.net