Moving Rabbit Hole

May 4, 2011
How does one cope with the death of a child? Mother, Becca (Margaret Kerr ’13) and father, Howie (Daniel Gale Rosen, ‘10), must deal with this difficult situation in Rabbit Hole, a tragic story directed by Kriti Lodha (’12) in the Loeb Ex earlier this April.

The major conflict of the show begins with a tense scene between Becca and her rather irresponsible, but enthusiastic, younger sister Izzy (Rachael Epstein ‘10), who reveals to Becca that she is pregnant. Izzy’s news is not met with enthusiasm, and the audience soon find out that Becca’s four-year old son has recently died in a tragic car accident. Both Becca and Howie have found it incredibly difficult to cope with their loss, the chief root of their marital issues, though one might determine that Howie is much closer to moving on than is Becca. Despite constant attempts at assistance from her mother, Nat (Georgina Parfitt, ’13), who went through a similar time of grief after the suicide of her 30-year old son, as well as offers of help from the rest of her family, Becca finds herself feeling desolate and depressed. When seventeen-year old Jason (Galt MacDermot, ’14), the driver involved in the accident, contacts the family, the plot takes a drastic turn. Throughout Rabbit Hole one wonders if Becca and Howie will ever be able to reconcile with one another, if they will be able to forgive Jason, and if they will be able to move on.

The play is serious and sad throughout. As the main character, Kerr had the very difficult job of expressing such extreme emotions as despair and anger in so many different ways and at length. Her portrayal, reflecting intense commitment, did not leave her audience disappointed.  Her partner Rosen, however, failed to make the same bold decisions, leading to a less developed character. Parfitt’s character works wonderfully with the show in providing on-point comedic relief when necessary while still being able to handle the tension. She brings a very charming personality to—quite literally—the kitchen table.
Speaking of the kitchen table, much of the action takes place in this quaintly portioned-off area. The set, which extends past the first row of seats, consists of three beautifully painted levels (bedroom, living room, and kitchen) designed by Jessica Zuo ’13 and Zheng Yang Kohzy ’12. The first thing one notices about the set is the little boy’s name, Danny, painted in capital letters across the wall of his room.  It is preserved as if waiting for his return, mirroring the false hope of his mourning parents. The nightlight on his dresser stays lit throughout the entire show, serving as a constant reminder of what is not there. Additionally, the show incorporated a lot of music from the likes of Regina Spektor, which helped move the audience from mood to mood effectively and efficiently–doing its bit for the moving effect well-performed, well-produced story had all around.

The Harvard Art Review Theatre Board

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