Good grief: Rabbit Gap astonishes

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By Caroline Palermo, Workers Author

Grief is tough to elucidate, not to mention present in two hours on stage. Regardless of the problem, Rabbit Gap, final weekend’s first Xavier Theatre manufacturing of the semester, displayed a real depiction of grief by way of its poignant script, sensible set design and forged. 

Rabbit Gap follows homemaker Becca (Erin Bonham) and her affected person husband Howie (Andrew Normington) after the lack of their four-year-old son Danny in a tragic automotive accident. She’s surrounded by her irresponsible youthful sister Izzy (Regan Utrup) and her overbearing however caring mom Nat (Anna Kahle). 

Jason (Parker Culp), the socially awkward teenager that by chance hit Danny, makes an look. It’s been eight months since their son died, and everybody round Becca appears to have moved on — even her husband. However not Becca. Every part reminds her of Danny. 

The most effective components about this play is the way it explores grief by way of every of the characters. Becca continues to be strongly grieving and makes no effort to cover it. Howie goes to group remedy and places on a courageous face for everybody, although he’s nonetheless hurting deeply. Normington fantastically depicted this within the climatic ending of act one. Nat nonetheless mourns the lack of her son Arthur who dedicated suicide over 11 years in the past. 

Izzy, then again, tries to maneuver by way of this grief-stricken group whereas coping with her personal points — Utrup dazzled the viewers together with her comedic reduction. It’s a refined, but highly effective solution to present how grief doesn’t look the identical for everybody, as emphasised by Becca’s insistence that evaluating Arthur’s dying to Danny’s is unfair. 

Xavier Theatre’s season opener, Rabbit Gap, shocked audiences final weekend with its charming depictions of a household dwelling by way of grief.

Subtlety is the place this manufacturing shone brightest, notably within the set design. In its quieter points, it’s by way of the youngsters’s paintings on the fridge and the scattered image books on the desk. The boldest function of the set was the visibility and scale of Danny’s bed room, which overlooks the lounge the place majority of the scenes happen. It consisted of little animal chairs, toy robots and stuffed animals —  fixed reminders of Danny’s presence. 

The bed room additionally doubles as a metaphor for grief, notably how giant and fixed it’s; it’s at all times there, at all times seen and by no means out of sight. It permits the viewers to raised perceive Becca’s mindset and her have to subconsciously erase her son’s presence. 

Whereas the forged was a pleasure to look at, their quiet, refined reactionary scenes gave a punch to the intestine. The emotional rigidity between Bonham and Normington can’t be understated; they managed to raise the manufacturing’s themes even when not talking.

The standout of the present was undoubtedly Kahle’s Nat. Kahle’s comedic timing is impeccable; she masterfully utilized her cadence and pacing to ship these with ease. Kahle additionally knew when to tone down her efficiency to let her co-stars have their moments to shine, but by no means dulled Nat’s colourful persona within the course of. Her lingering gazes are simply as highly effective as her verbal supply. 

Regardless of Culp’s smaller position, his portrayal was one of many strongest within the manufacturing. The lingering guilt he feels from Danny’s dying is obvious all through all of his scenes. His gesticulations seize the essence of a clumsy boy. Culp’s supply makes it unimaginable to think about the strains delivered another means. 

Rabbit Gap was a stellar solution to kick off the season. A good looking, wealthy and emotional exploration of grief’s results on people and the way they will bleed onto private relationships, deliberately or not, just isn’t a straightforward play to tug off. Nonetheless,  this manufacturing undoubtedly nailed it.

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