Curtain Up: See the “Rabbit Hole,’ but be prepared to cry

Article Highlights

  • "Rabbit Hole" runs through April 23. Call 239-263-7990 or go online to for tickets.
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What: Play about parents who lose their child in a car accident

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sundays through April 23

Where: 701 5th Avenue South, Naples

Cost: $25

Information: (239) 263-7990,

Full event details »

— At the opening of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” now playing in the Tobye Studio at the Sugden Community Theatre, two sisters are having a conversation.

One, Becca, played by Denise Peterson, is folding a child’s clothing, and the other is recounting some important news. It seems like a normal sibling relationship — the responsible sister chiding the wild one, the usual replaying of longstanding patterns. They are trying to act normal. Then it comes out that the child’s clothes are those of Becca’s son, killed eight months previously in a traffic accident. The sisters address the issue fairly matter-of-factly.

The lights go down and when they come up it is a little later the same day. Becca enters and Ms. Peterson, in a beautifully acted moment, stands looking about, with a sad and lifeless affect expressed on her face and in her body. Thus begins the heartbreaking, touching story of Becca and her husband Howie (played with passion by Paul Graffy), and how they come to cope — or not — with their loss.

It is a story of a grief that cannot be lifted, of an aloneness that cannot be alleviated by comfort or even love. Their loss is so heavy and so constant that it seems it will never end. For anyone who has experienced grief — and who hasn’t in this vale of tears — it creates a fierce empathy.

This is not a happy play. Some members of the audience, needing to escape all of the emotion, had to leave at intermission. For those who stayed, however, the experience was gripping and ultimately life-affirming. The characters are so real, so human, that one inevitably connects.

The production is sensitively directed by John McKerrow and well acted across the board. Once again, the Naples Players do miracles with the small Tobye space. The costumes are not only right, they are comments on the characters. The character of Howie and Becca’s house — and our houses reflect ourselves — is created with spaces for the kitchen, living room and the child’s bedroom.

Be prepared to cry, but see it.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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