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Carpenter Square's 'Rabbit Hole' packs emotional wallop



It would be easy to assume that David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Rabbit Hole" would be filled with comically quirky people in skewed worlds. That's how his hits like "Fuddy Meers" and "Kimberly Akimbo" work.

But in "Rabbit Hole," the surreal world of the play is created by an external event: the accidental killing of a child. Yet this is no tearjerker. With a sharp, unsentimental eye, the playwright taps into the quicksand that those who have deeply mourned someone instantly recognize.

At the core is Becca, touchingly realized by Catherine Dunlap, as a mother whose self-contained exterior can erupt on a dime. Michael Gibbons masterfully captures the more sentient anguish of father Howie, who fills his haunted vacuum by replaying videotapes of his son in the dead of night.

They can't even empathize with the guilt-ridden teenage driver, Jason, who cries out for forgiveness. Matthew Minor is authentic and heartbreaking in the role.

Jamie Brewster is terrific as Becca's mother, Nat, who walks on eggshells when she's not drunkenly outspoken. Michelle Swink shines as Izzy, the awkwardly pregnant younger sister who acts out for attention.

Rhonda Clark directs her talented cast with a sure hand. Although occasionally it's slow going, the rewards always come. The end doesn't opt out for defining truths or closure "? only the touching acknowledgment that Howie and Becca, finally reaching toward one another, just might survive this unthinkable situation.

"?Linda McDonald


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