Not a single soul present in Friday night’s audience at the University of La Verne’s Dailey Theatre was left unmoved by the theater arts department’s rendition of the 2007 Pulitzer Award-winning drama, “Rabbit Hole.”
David Lindsay-Abaire’s drama was the senior thesis production of three La Verne students Joshua Prisk, Brittany Lokar and Jennifer Scarr.
“At the theater we like to combine senior theses to make it easier on the department,” Scarr said.
Scarr explained the search for the ideal script was a lengthy one. After reading through many different scripts, “Rabbit Hole” was the clear contender.
Scarr recalls immediately falling in love with the story and the writing.
Sean Dillon, assistant professor of theater arts, directed the project and expressed enthusiasm during his presentation.
“Sean Dillon is the best, and has been a fantastic director to work with,” Scarr said.
The critically acclaimed “Rabbit Hole” tells the story of a couple who has recently suffered the loss of their 4-year-old son Danny after he was hit by a young driver. Becca, played by Scarr, and Howie played by Prisk, tell the story of grief and coping with the loss of a child.
Together, with the help of Becca’s mother Nat, played by Hailey Heisick, and sister Izzy, played Lokar, they struggle to find resignation and return to normalcy as best as they possibly can.
The emotional journey of mourning, grief, uncertainty, and perseverance that follows the loss of an important figure in our life is explored throughout the story.
The production proves to be an elaborate one at first glance due to the intricate and well crafted set.
The play is set around the home of Becca and Howie, with most of the scenes occurring in the dining area, living room, kitchen and their child’s bedroom.
Junior Fatima Suarez, a member of Friday night’s audience, said that during the play she forgot that she was watching the play in the Dailey Theatre.
“The set design was impressive and I felt like I was in Becca and Howie’s home,” Suarez said.
Attributes of the set, such as the colors of the walls, the furniture and the intricate use of props inform the audience that this is a normal family just like any of us experiencing these hardships. This allows the audience to relate with the actors on stage.
“I absolutely enjoy the productions at La Verne. I believe La Verne has talented young actors with great potential,” Suarez said. “The scene in which the family is changing Danny’s room into a guest room was one of the most sincere and sensitive scenes, in part, due to the set design.”
Marital confrontations, constant memories and reminders in their own home stand in the way of the couple’s road to acceptance.
From the presence of another child about to join their family, to face-to-face encounter of the young student who killed their son, played by Aaron Colby, “Rabbit Hole” successfully exposes the reality that we suffer as a result of fate.
Lokar’s performance of Izzy presents a contrast to Becca, with a colorful and sarcastic personality, adding to the dynamic of the story.
The somber disposition characterized by the essence of the play evokes strong emotions, but the comedic relief provides for some scattered laughter.
“Comedy is definitely where I feel the most at home,” Lokar said.
Beginning her theater career during elementary school, Lokar began pursuing her dream of acting during junior high, where she began taking classes.
Lokar said, that after viewing her performance, people commented on her off-stage similarities to her character.
“One of my friends actually told me that I wasn’t acting, that it was just me pretending to be pregnant,” said Lokar. “Other people have told me that they see a lot of my own sarcastic, offbeat characteristics in Izzy.”
Lokar said that it was almost insulting to hear that.
“It has been helpful to bring some of my own dealings with grief into how I develop Izzy as a character,” Lokar said. “So I was very pleased to read the script and know that was the part I was going to be playing.”
This performance will give you a genuine experience by watching the complexities of the human race come to life on stage.
Through the insight that the cast brings into the situations, the scenes in “Rabbit Hole” effectively connect to the lives of people all around the world.
The play debuted Feb. 4, but has evening performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and closes on Sunday with a matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for faculty and $5 for students who provide a valid I.D.
Jose Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.