La Plata, MD – Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire, is the current featured play by the Port Tobacco Players (PTP). Produced by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service, Director Heather Bauer has created an intimate and sensitive interpretation of a family’s coping mechanisms over the loss of four-year-old Danny, through nuanced performances by a gifted cast.
This two-act play opens Friday, May 20 and runs through Sunday, June 5. Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $15 for seniors/students/military. There will be an opening night “meet and greet” after the show at PTP’s dinner partner, The Red Oak Bistro.
Simply keep your ticket stub and enjoy special pricing there for the entire run of the show! The Port Tobacco Playhouse is located at 508 Charles Street in La Plata, MD and for more information and tickets you may contact www.ptplayers.com. You may also call the Box Office at (301)932-6819. Note: the play deals with mature language and themes.
Rabbit Hole was the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Drama winner. Its Broadway premiere took place in 2006; four subsequent Tony nominations followed for Best Play, Best Direction, Best Featured Actress, and Best Scenic Design. Cynthia Nixon won as Best Featured Actress in a role taken by Nicole Kidman in the 2010 film.
The story, set in Larchmont, New York in the present day, chronicles how family members survive a major loss through a finely crafted script that mixes drama with comedy. The five-character play revolves around Becca, Izzy, Howie, Nat, and Jason.
Becca (Melissa Gilpin-Ball), Howie’s wife, in her late-30s, is usually sensitive and responsible but she’s made some rash decisions out of grief. Her sister, Izzy (Becky Kuhn) is Becca’s unwed, irresponsible sister who is pregnant by her boyfriend, Aggie. Howie (Dave Timmermann) is Becca’s husband, also in his late-30s. He’s having a hard time with Danny’s death and as a result is angry and depressed. He desires another child. He may or may not be involved in an affair with a woman from his Grief Counselling Group Session. Nat (Allison Turkel) is the mother of Izzy and Becca and is the voice of reason in the family. Her son, Arthur (Becca and Izzy’s brother), a heroin addict, hanged himself at age 30. Jason (Tyler Clark) is the 17-year-old who accidentally struck Danny with his car as the youngster chased his dog into the street. Jason blames himself for Danny’s death.
If you are expecting Rabbit Hole to be a tearjerker from start to finish, you would be only partially correct. Heather Bauer, in her Director’s Notes, states that the audience is “about to embark on an emotional, uneasy journey that leads to a place of hope.” And it is the journey undertaken by the family to reach this place of hope that makes the play so richly rewarding.
Assistant Director Lynne O’Meara adds in her program notes that “the sense of loss never goes away, you just learn to deal with it better.”
Producer for Rabbit Hole is Bill Righter.
The beautiful two-story set (by Kaitelyn Bauer Dieguez and Doug Wohlenhaus) reveals a compact, colorfully cozy home (Danny’s room in particular is especially whimsically decorated with graphic design and painting by Jenn Raby). Last-minute finishing touches were lovingly and meticulously being applied just moments before Curtain on Press Night. The well-stocked refrigerator is thanks to Becky and Brian Kuhn.
The lighting echoes the intimacy of the floor plan displayed in the set design, and is especially effective when Becca and Nat are sorting through Danny’s toys in his second-floor bedroom.
In speaking informally with the Press after curtain call, Melissa said that the greatest and most challenging things to her about portraying Becca was that this character has the exact opposite reaction to how she herself would grieve. Becca is strong and exhibits a desire to move on, but Melissa, a mother of two, says that the loss would be unimaginable to her. When asked about the commendable, conversational style of dialogue among all of the actors, Melissa said that with such a small cast, the actors became very close and rapport and chemistry blossomed during rehearsals. The intimacy and naturalness of this seemingly-effortless conversational style in delivering lines is what distinguishes this play and this cast.
Members of the Production Team for Rabbit Hole include Kimberly Ball, costume designer; Chris Cease, sound designer; Christin Lockhart, house manager; Kathy Mead, assistant producer; Tommy Scott, lighting designer; Doug Wohlenhaus, master carpenter/set construction lead; Lara Wohlenhaus, hair and makeup designer; Nicholas Wohlenhaus, set construction assistant; and William Wohlenhaus, set construction assistant.
Additional Production Staff members who helped make Rabbit Hole possible include: Anthony Dieguez, Richard Gilpin, John Merritt, Kimberly Ball, Jill Hanger, Kate O’Meara, Tyler Painter, Lukas Righter, Terry Smith, Betsy Stevens, Tommy Scott, Allison Claggett, Kerry Ward, Juliet Cormier, Annie Lockhart, Keith Linville, Greg Rumpf, Christin Lockhart, David Standish, the Box Office volunteers and ushers, and all others who joined the production after the program went to print.
Program printing is by Quality Printers.
Port Tobacco Players is proud to be a charter member of the Washington Area theatre Community Honors (www.washingtontheater.org). The Port Tobacco Players is supported by grants from the Charles County Arts Alliance, the Maryland State Arts Council (an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive) and by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
The final show of the current PTP season will be the classic musical, 1776, running from July 15 through Aug. 7. Tickets are on sale now. You may go to the PTP web site and click “sign up for ENEWS” to receive the email PTP newsletter. You may also like the Facebook page, and check out the web site for details on auditions and more.