Parents never truly "get over" the loss of a child, but they must keep their relationship open and their discussions honest if they want to get past the terrible event and live successful lives. David Lindsay-Abaire's outstanding play, "Rabbit Hole," looks at the event in the lives of a suburban family, and tackles the difficult subject with grace and honesty.
A first-rate production by the Insight Theatre Company opened last night at the Heagney Theatre on the Nerinx Hall campus and will run through Oct. 2
Christopher Hickey and Jenni Ryan are Howie and Becca. Their four-year-old son was killed eight months earlier; the family dog, in a normal action ran out of the yard in chase of a squirrel. The little boy, in an equally normal action, chased the dog, ran into the street and was hit by a car driven by a high school student on his way home.
They are still trying to deal with it. The child's room remains untouched, only a few of his toys and drawings have been put out of sight. Howie goes to family therapy, Becca tried but gave it up. They don't -- maybe can't -- deal with the important things in their lives.
Meanwhile, Becca's mother, Nat (a strong performance by Donna Weinsting) and her younger sister, Izzy (good work from Lara Buck) are in the mix. Izzy is pregnant by a boy friend and Nat is constantly over-riding the discussion by talking about the death of her son, brother to Becca. Rahamses Galvan is the teenage driver, but his presence adds little. Perhaps Lindsay-Abaire thought another character would improve the play, but it doesn't.
Hickey, grieving, puzzled by the event and not knowing where to turn, is excellent, and Ryan's portrayal is a fine match. There's a reality about their performances, perhaps brought about by Jason Cannon's calm, mature direction. Other nice tech work includes a neat two-level set designed by William Schmiel, proper costumes by David Gray and a fine lighting design by Sean Savoie.
Watching Howie and Becca come to grips with the situation is a tribute to the author's skill (the play won a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2007), and there is eventual triumph as they take hands and decide to simply put one foot in front of the other on their way out of Alice's strange wonderland.
An excellent drama about a sensitive subject, handled with all the proper care.
Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire, produced by the Insight Theatre Company, will run at the Heagneyn Theatre at Nerinx Hall through Oct. 2