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November 11, 2009 > Theatre Preview: Emotional dive into Rabbit Hole

Theatre Preview: Emotional dive into Rabbit Hole

By Julie Grabowski

The Ohlone College Department of Theatre and Dance drop us into the dark, tight cellar of tragedy and grief with their production of "Rabbit Hole" showing now through November 21st. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire the play first premiered at the Pacific Playwrights Festival in 2005 and went on to be a hit on Broadway where it earned five Tony Award nominations. Its success was then crowned with the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

After the accidental death of their only child, four-year-old Danny, fractured couple Becca and Howie are unable to find solace in each other or agree about how best to deal with their loss. The strain is intensified by the presence of Becca's zany, immature sister Izzy and her unexpected news, their good intentioned mother and the desire of the young driver that killed their son to meet with them. "Rabbit Hole" is an exploration of how we deal with tragedy and loss, and how we handle friends and family who use methods different from our own to cope.

The story is an intricate weave of humor and suffering which the cast handles well, albeit with some bumps along the way. Bobby August wears the character of Howie with considerable ease and grace, delivering a performance of depth and emotion that moves one to tears. Amber Jene is colorful and thoroughly enjoyable as the kooky, childish Izzy and deftly handles the job of providing the bulk of the show's comic relief. Jessica Bettencourt grows more comfortably into the pinched and practical Becca as the evening progresses but still comes off as less accessible than her counterparts. Christine Hearn-Cotrufo is a pleasure as the girls' mother Nat, while Will McDermott's Jason is a little awkward and disconnected.

Set designer George F. Ledo renders the manicured, contemporary home of Becca and Howie so beautifully that if you didn't know better you would believe you were touring a model home in the neighborhood. Another nice feature is the collection of artwork hanging in the lobby depicting scenes from the play.

There is the opportunity to see the show in the hands of different players as two alternating casts deliver performances. The aforementioned actors will take the stage again for the November 13 and 20 dates. An American Sign Language interpreted performance is also available on the 13th.

"Rabbit Hole" is a compelling and thought-provoking story that encourages us to hold onto hope and trust that somehow we'll find a way through the darkness.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students/youth. For more information or to purchase tickets call (510) 659-6031 or visit online at

Rabbit Hole
November 6-7, 12-14, 19-21
8 p.m.
Smith Center at Ohlone College
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 659-6031

Tickets: $10-$15

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