ago, in 2003, at historic Footlighters Theater in Berwyn, a young
woman named Janet met a young man named Hugh when they were cast as dance
partners in a community theater production. A year and a half later
they were back at Footlighters, this time cast as Jan and Roger in
"Grease." A first date followed, and then another. Fast
forward to the present and they are a married couple with a story of their own,
including three children, work with special needs children, and countless hours
on, off and behind the stage. Now they are once again on the
Footlighters' stage for director Sarah Sperling's riveting production of "RABBIT
HOLE." This time, however, cast as Becca and Howie Corbett, they
bring a poignant history to their roles, one that will leave their
audiences completely pulled into the "drama-dy" playing out in the
Rolling seamlessly along between hilarity and grief, David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer prize winning show opens a window into the soul of a family coping with a profound loss, each in their own way. One sees their home as a comfort, another as a prison. Becca's sister and mother add to the mix of emotions, providing plenty of typical family angst over both the big and the small conversations of life, as they all try to "get on" in their own way. The Bergen Record described "Rabbit Hole" as "a thoroughly absorbing, profoundly affecting and painfully touching examination of grief." For Janet and Hugh Abbott, however, this "tear your heart out loss" is not just acting. It's a very personal chance for them to portray in a respectful and realistic way the roller coaster of emotions that follow the loss of a child, something they experienced firsthand through the infant death of their firstborn, Sophie. Much like Becca and Howie Corbett, they had to find their own way back into the light of day. While the Abbotts’ situation was understandably their own with unique circumstances and coping methods, their study and empathy of the grief process in Becca and Howie’s family allows them to bring their own deep felt understanding and insightfulness to their characterizations in this production.
"Rabbit Hole" will not leave one audience member unaffected. Both laughter and sniffles are heard often throughout the two-act play, an indication of this show's strong connection to real life. It's this grip on one's heart that brings audiences back to see "Rabbit Hole" again and again. The show opens Footlighter's 85th Anniversary season on August 30th and runs for three weekends. Tickets and special event details are available at the box office and online at www.footlighterstheater.com (discounts available for matinees and groups).