‘Rabbit Hole’ or Aleppo USA
This tightly written tragic/comedy/drama earned a coveted Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama for its creator David Lindsay-Abaire in 2007. Ten years later it has arrived on a Los Angeles Stage at the warm and cozy Lounge Theatre starring Toni Christopher, Jordana Oberman, Darcy Shean. Michael Yurchak and introducing Rocky Collins.
The story begins with a rather convoluted and often hilarious conversation between two sisters during which one sister admits to her sibling that she recently punched another woman in the face. But this is only the beginning because next is the clearly distressed husband trying and failing to regain some amorous activity with his wife. There is obvious and abundant stress in this family to the point where labeling them dysfunctional could be considered an understatement.
The overriding issue in this story is the death of their four-year old son. He was killed by an automobile after the young boy ran into the street chasing his dog. The person driving the car was a young high school student and he too was clearly traumatized by the incident. So central to this show is a family’s reaction to the death of their four year child.
That is where my mind immediately thought of Aleppo where dozens if not hundreds of children have recently been killed by bombs and gunfire leaving behind deeply grieving families. How any family so deeply hurt is eventually able to “move on” as we say is at the core of Rabbit Hole. But because there is abundant pain there is also abundant humor as humor grows from pain.
At one point the young man who was driving the car that struck and killed the little boy makes his appearance at the home of the grieving family. That character was brilliantly portrayed by Rocky Collins. Rocky has earned TV and film credits but this is his first appearance on stage and it is a powerful performance with just the right nuance.
A critical, pivotal moment comes when the grieving mom, played by Jordana Oberman, finally has a moving meeting with the young man who was driving the car. As this story progresses there is an apparent escalation of violence; first the sister in the bar and later the mother in a grocery store both striking other people. So when the mother and boy meet the mother is very insistent on offering the boy a glass of milk and I was sure the ending would be the boy dying from poison she put in the milk. That is not what happened, but it becomes clear that that meeting was much needed and highly transformative.
If you enjoy highly emotional drama coupled with abundant comic relief you will love Rabbit Hole. The show does grab you and hold you for the entire two hours. Do, however, leave the young [under 13] and highly sensitive at home.
Rabbit Hole is playing now through May 14th at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. Information is available by calling (917) 407-3346 and online ticketing is available here.
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You may also enjoy a different but highly enjoyable art form here. Looking is always free.
Photos by John Geronilla
Top photo: Jordana Oberman, Toni Christopher, Darcy Shean
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.