Saturday, May 5, 2012

David Lindsay-Abaire's "Rabbit Hole" at Clark College Truly Prize-winning

“It’s a good thought, that somewhere out there I’m having a good time.”

The Tale

And that is the element of hope—the moment, ten minutes before curtain, when the inkling of healing comes to Becca—a mother grieving at the loss of her child—that life might go on.

David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Rabbit Hole,” tells the tragic tale of a family dealing with the accidental death of their four-year old son. They find healing through honesty, humor and sometime tears.

The Clark College Theater production, under the astute direction of Patricia Rohrbach, is indeed Pulitzer Prize material. The dialogue is genuine in the writing; the delivery only slightly underplayed. But the cast was amazing having tackled the heart-rending material after just four weeks of rehearsal. For the most part it was like we’d really dropped in on a family as a fly on the wall.

The show’s production schedule was so truncated because it was virtually recast due to three players leaving the production mid-way through the rehearsal process. While the new cast did an exceptional job there was some evidence that they had not yet connected with the gravity of the script and the depths of the emotion. The anger that should have escalated at pivotal points was subdued though the conversation rarely unnatural. At times, however, the material was so “every day” that it bordered on mundane.

The Talent

H. Gene Biby (left) as Howie and Dorinda Toner as Becca on the set of the Clark
College production of David Lindsays-Abaire's"Rabbit Hole." Photos provided*.
However, the production neared perfection. Fine performances were given all around. Dorinda Toner was remarkable as Becca; H. Gene Biby, though too reserved, played Howie rather convincingly; and Laura Henderson added genuine realism to her role as Izzy.

From left to right, Sandi Stokesbary as Nat, Laura
Henderson as Izzy, and Dorinda Toner as Becca.
Matthew Brown, as Jason, (not shown) dialed in an absolutely stellar performance and Sandi Stokesbary was quite good as Nat. Jason’s mid-way-through-the-first-act monologue was ideally performed and touching.

The Technical

Technically, the show came off without a hitch. The scene transitions were unusually, but beautifully executed and brilliant. The stunning set was Mark Owsley’s best design yet. It was absolutely a work of art. I don’t know how he is able to fit so much space in so little space. It was perfect in every way. His lighting design, too, was masterful—only slightly flawed by hot spots. His intimate knowledge of the space certainly shows.

There was a good deal of “language” in the play which was a bit uncomfortable to my ears, otherwise the play was superb. I’d almost want to be in this play—since the cast ate their way through a variety of desserts.

One tip: Put some sand or water in the detergent container so that carrying it looks natural.

The Tickets

The play continues at Clark College’s Decker Theater in the Frost Arts Center, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Wash., 7:30 p.m., May 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. May 12. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the campus bookstore or by calling 360-992-2815. Visit the Clark theater website for more information.

By Gregory E. Zschomler
*Photos by Dominique Horn Photography

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