Down the ‘Rabbit Hole’


Photo by Joel McKay.

Melissa Thomas, Editor

This year, Theatre South presents a production tackling the complex issue of losing a child. ‘Rabbit Hole’ is a 2007 play written by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, who was inspired by his Juilliard professor to write about his biggest fear: the death of his own child. Over two weeks, Theatre South will be performing ‘Rabbit Hole’ in South’s auditorium. 

The play follows the aftermath of a tragic car accident that kills 4-year-old Danny. With the opening scene beginning 4 months after the incident, the audience is placed into the depths of a parents’ grief, following the struggle of Danny’s parents to cope together and continue life without their child, as well as grappling with their own blame over his death. Each character symbolizes a different stage of grief and the complexities it brings.

In preparation to present such a difficult subject, the actors of ‘Rabbit Hole’ have delved deeply into the subject of grief and loss in their best attempt to creatively execute the unfathomable issue of what it means to lose a child. Such composition consisted of “researching and discussing loss,” as well as “[sharing] personal experiences with losing loved ones”, as head of Theatre at South, Catherine Rademacher, prefaced in her Director’s Note. 

“It is our priority to do justice to these characters, the story and the playwright,” she said. 

While the play focuses on the demoralization of Danny’s family following his death, it also touches on the rippling effects of such a tragedy. Junior Bryce Ooley plays the role of Jason, a 17-year-old who the audience later learns plays a large role in the death of Danny. 

“All of my other parts in other plays have been happy, upbeat characters. So this has really challenged me to be a depressed [character],” Ooley said. 

Ooley amends the play for allowing him to “[expand his] theatrical range.” 

As a competition piece, this play aims to challenge the actors beyond their usual range. They will compete to be judged against other schools in the region in 45-minute cuttings. 

“Sad, depressing shows generally do better because they are emotionally appealing,” Ooley said. “[The play] shows how different people deal with mourning.”

The next shows will be performed on Nov. 22 & 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, with an $8 discount for students.