Richland Players dive into love, loss in 'Rabbit Hole'

January 14, 2010 

The Rabbit Hole, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play that probes the lives of a couple in turmoil after the death of their child, is being presented by the Richland Players.

David Lindsay-Abaire's play, which will soon hit the big screen starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, is not so much about the death of Becca and Howie Corbett's son Danny, but more about how the tragic blow affects the family, said play director Robbie Heegel.

"I found myself drawn to this production as a director because I found it very relevant and modern," Heegel said. "David Lindsay-Abaire really has taken today's family and put it through a path that we should hope we only observe.

"But I also think this is something the community can see that will be a cathartic experience."

The playwright found a way to blend humor with the drama when dealing with the family's loss. That could be the reason the play's Broadway debut earned it several Tony nominations as well as a best actress win for Cynthia Nixon (Sex in the City).

Becca is portrayed by Katrina Carlson and Korry Watkins plays her husband Howie. Connie Hull plays Becca's mom Nat, with Michele Solano as Becca's free-spirited sister Izzy, who's pregnant with her first child when Danny dies.

Matt Shanaberger portrays the teen who was driving the car that killed Danny.

Though the Rabbit Hole is Heegel's first venture into directing a Tri-City production since moving here a few years ago, but he's no stranger to drama.

He minored in drama at Augustana College in South Dakota and has performed in various Tri-City productions for Richland Light Opera and Columbia Basin College. Another aspect of the Rabbit Hole that attracted Heegel to the director's role is the heartwarming way the grieving couple come to terms with their loss.

"To contrast the intense and awkward main characters of Becca and Howie, (the playwright) uses the more upbeat, but no less full, characters of Nat and Izzy to (balance out the emotions,)" Heegel said.

"These two bring hilarity and a sense of depth to the play that allows the audience to get a full picture of this family as it struggles with one of life's greatest tragedies. The Rabbit Hole will be presented starting Jan. 15 at The Players Theatre in Richland. Curtain time is 8 p.m.

◗ Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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