Grief is just love with nowhere to go.
It can be getting too close while saying too much and then not enough. Holding on too tight or letting go too fast. What to do not knowing what to do and finding where to meet in the middle.
Starring and insightfully directed by Victoria Bond, True Rep Theatre’s latest production was David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning play, Rabbit Hole which was onstage for one weekend only from Friday, March 24 through Sunday, March 26 at the Beal House in Kingston, Massachusetts. Hope Floats in Kingston partnered with True Repertory Theatre for Rabbit Hole. Click here for more information and for more about True Rep Theatre.
Rabbit Hole examines the aftermath of an unimaginable tragedy for a struggling family and all who are connected to it on a journey through loss. It explores a variety of ways in which conflict can arise from miscommunication, loneliness, and the uncertain future. It also has moments of humor, but Lindsay-Abaire’s meaty script seems to have metaphorically placed everyone on their own grieving life raft as each individual attempts to keep each other afloat.
Songs by Al Green, Florence and the Machine, Matt Alber, Damien Jurado and Gary Jules are just a few of the artists that enhance the show’s complicated beauty and the semi-immersive set draws the audience further into its engrossing content. The Beal House, without a bad set, features a functioning kitchen which flows seamlessly through each of True Rep’s distinctive productions. Colin Gaynor’s sweet vocals lends to the show’s stirring sound design.
Rabbit Hole features an intimate cast that delivers powerful and intense performances and it is difficult to imagine these actors not feeling emotionally depleted after each show. Victoria Bond both directs and stars as Becca, a normally levelheaded wife devastated over the sudden death of her young son.
Some of Rabbit Hole’s eloquence is that it does not take place prior to a tragedy, but months later on a day not unlike any other day. This renowned play is a mass of subtle intricacies that seem small, but pack a wallop. With a somewhat slumped walk and a reticent and sullen voice, Bond melts into the role of an anxious and irritable perfectionist Becca with ingenuity and a creeping tension just below the surface. It is a relatable portrait of a worn mother struggling to hold on while searching for a way forward.
Donald Sheehan depicts Becca’s husband Howard who is coping with his son’s death differently. With a feigned smile and with greater openness than his wife, Sheehan treads carefully for Becca’s sake. Having seen the 2010 film of the same name, Howard was depicted as less likable than in this production. However, Sheehan brings patience and greater understanding of his wife’s needs to the role, though their marriage is not without conflict. Sheehan and Bond’s complicated relationship ebbs and flows unsteadily.
On a lighter note, Julie Butler portrays Becca’s tough, aimless, but caring sister Izzy. With blue, pink, and red hair and bold fashion sense, Butler’s blunt and edgy charm makes for some entertaining and comedic moments. Butler has great chemistry with each dysfunctional family member and is a breath of fresh air within the show’s heavier content. Lisa Caron Driscoll as Becca’s chatty and nagging mother Nat makes it easy to see where Izzy gets her outspoken demeanor. However, Nat is also a pillar of strength and though Nat’s grief seems buried deep, Driscoll impressively unravels this multi-layered character inch by almost unendurable inch.
Patrick McCarthy depicts sympathetic Jason with humbleness and an innate sincerity. Through a shared persistence, McCarthy and Bond poignantly develop a bizarre and bittersweet connection on this heartrending journey.
True Rep Theatre’s latest production was David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning play, Rabbit Hole which was onstage for one weekend only from Friday, March 24 through Sunday, March 26 at the Beal House in Kingston, Massachusetts. Hope Floats in Kingston partnered with True Repertory Theatre for Rabbit Hole. Click here for more information and for more about True Repertory Theatre.