Put Rabbit Hole on your list of MUST-SEES!
The greatest compliment one actor can give to another is, “I never caught you acting.” Without exception, the cast gave life to the story of ordinary people trying to deal with unspeakable tragedy.
I ask you to “cut me a break” for a moment so I can speak about the venue – you will learn why a little later in this review. The outdoor performance area (sans covering) is in a small, grassy hollow. Folding chairs – perhaps 50 – are placed in circle, 20 to 25 ft in diameter. As we approached it, I thought of the ancient Greeks who attended plays in the Agora (like the town square) and who sat in a circle that enveloped the actors. There was no “fourth wall”. Hang on to that thought. I’ll be coming back to it.
Act One commenced and my prejudice kicked in. I had a problem with the first 20 minutes of the play. In film, you have 10 pages (i.e., 10 minutes) max, in which to identify the protagonist, the antagonist and lay out the story. For TV, you have to do it in 5 minutes or less. The conversation between the sisters was funny but took way too long to “get to the point” of the story. As is often the case, I was clueless, as my date – and spouse of 55 years – happily pointed out.
“Because you are man you might listen to what women are saying but you often don’t hear what they are saying. You are hunters. Men focus on the prey and ignore the surroundings. In the case of women, you miss the subtext. What was the older sister doing?
“Folding clothes”, I said.
“But what clothes? “ (Shrug) “And what was she going to do with them?” (Another shrug.”) “Donate them to charity. And why? (Shrug #3) “Did you notice the toys on the floor and the children’s books, some already in boxes?”
Then the light went on! It wasn’t the play or the players. It was me! I’d like to say it was an aberration but……. To the writer, the director and the actors I say, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. I gave myself a penance of five Hail Mary’s.
Back to the Greeks. As Act One drew to a close, the magma of repressed sorrow, guilt and helplessness erupted. As if on cue, a hawk dropped out of a tree on our right, flew low over the heads of the players and spectators, dove down onto a field on our left, made a kill and took it up into the canopy. Was it the feared, mythological Harpy, the spirit of sudden, sharp gusts of wind, the messenger of Hades and snatcher of souls?
I am a laugher and I am a crier, which is to say I am a feeler. I love to make people laugh and I even cry at super market openings – so says my wife. This play, with this cast, made me feel.
The dual protagonists, Becca, portrayed by Nina Covalesky, and Howie, played by Drew Seltzer, are the parents of Danny, a four year old boy who was killed when he chased his dog into the street and was stuck by a car driven by Jason, a teen played by Connor Johnston. Izzy, Becca’s sister, played by Jessica Myhr, and Nat, Becca and Izzy’s mother , played by Jo Twiss, provide the relief from grief valve.
And who is the antagonist you ask? It’s Danny, of course. He is the one keeping Becca and Howie from moving on .
As for the actors, Nina Covalesky, Drew Seltzer, Jessica Myhr and Jo Twiss, all Equity actors, plus Connor Johnston were never on that grassy knoll. It was Becca, Howie, Jason, Izzy and Nat.
You should put Rabbit Hole on your list of must sees. But hurry, the last performance is July 29.
P.S. No guarantee the hawk will make a repeat performance.
Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Seth Reich
Runs Wednesday thru Saturday, 7PM, now until July 29 th
Theater with a View
481 Ebelhare Rd,
Pottstown, PA 19465
Reviewed by Charley Scalies
Charley is a 25 year member of SAG/AFTRA with principal roles in TV series including The Wire, The Sopranos, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, Homicide Life on the Street and Cold Case, and films including Liberty Heights and Two Bits. His professional theater credits include Guys and Dolls (Nicely Johnson), Fiddler on the Roof (Lazar Wolf), The Wizard of Oz (Cowardly Lion), Gangstertown (Mayor Big Bill Thompson) and Niagara Falls (Mr. Poletti). Charley has also appeared in Chicago (Billy Flynn), Annie (Daddy Warbucks), Damn Yankees (Van Buren) and Annie Get Your Gun (Charlie Davenport).