Rabbit Hole – A Review by a Naatak Patron

June 16, 2015     / /

Sunaina Karanwal

Full disclaimer : ladies, don’t wear mascara to the play unless you want to leave with a teary, full-fledged raccoon eye situation (I may or may not be speaking from experience). Rabbit Hole revolves around the death of a couple’s child, their grief and their inability to heal. That’s some heavy stuff, you know. To its credit, it’s not entirely a tear-jerker – there are some delightfully wicked characters in the narrative that’ll make you chuckle. Over all, it’s a great play to watch if you’re in the mood for experiencing a well-curated catalogue of emotions.

So, a review, yes.

I suppose I could write a poignant one, telling you the chockfull of nuances and literary what-nots of this production. But I’ll save that pretentiousness for something else. Instead, Rabbit Hole deserves an entirely raw and unfiltered reaction because of the primal pathos it evokes. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little pretentiousness).

Now I cannot claim to have a child. But relating to the characters and the gravity of their loss, guilt, and helplessness was frighteningly easy. Isn’t that mark of a well-executed play? It hits you in that inconvenient little spot I like to call ‘the feels’. Rabbit Hole felt shamefully voyeuristic, and unnervingly raw. I felt uncomfortable to be privy to a grief that I knew was entirely synthetic. The meticulous sets, the props, each gesture and line that the actors had practiced a thousand times – none of it seemed contrived, no emotion staged, no line rehearsed. It all felt a little too real – that’s how good it was.

The actors – I know them offstage, they are my friends. But onstage, they were so entirely immersed in their characters’ personas, that when it was time for the curtain call, I couldn’t immediately reconcile the difference between their onstage personalities, and off-stage ones. Yeah, that’s how good they are.
And if you know anything about the standard protocols of roguish hollering at curtain call, I can honestly tell you I was pretty confused about whether wolf whistling at Mourning Mummy and Depressed Daddy was tasteful or not (pro-tip: cat-calling is always tasteful.)

So go watch it. Go find out why it’s called Rabbit Hole.
It’s a beautiful play, beautifully done by Naatak and its all-star cast and crew.
Stop reading this now.

RABBIT HOLE is playing from June 13 to 20th, 2015 at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto. For show info and tickets, please visit http://www.naatak.org/portfolio/rabbit-hole-2015/