Reviewed by Judy Richter
Of all the losses a family can suffer, perhaps the greatest is the death of a child. David Lindsay-Abaire explores the way the one family copes with and gets through its grief in "Rabbit Hole," winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama and a nominee for the 2006 Tony for best play. San Jose Repertory Theatre resident director Kirsten Brandt carefully guides an excellent cast through the humor and heartache of Lindsay-Abaire's moving drama.
Becca (Stacy Ross) and Howie (Andy Murray) live in a comfortable, stylish house in a New York suburb (set by Kate Edmunds, lighting by David Lee Cuthbert). Their lives have been shattered and their marriage tested by the accidental death of their 4-year-old son, Danny, several months ago. Also affected by Danny's death are Becca's sister, Izzy (Jessa Watson), and their mother, Nat (Lynne Soffer). On the surface, they go about their lives somewhat normally. Howie goes to work in the city every day, and Becca stays home, often baking. Just below the surface, though, areprofound grief and guilt after Danny ran into the street and was struck by a car. Also feeling guilt is the car's 17-year-old driver, Jason (James Breedlove).
The play traces the characters' journey toward healing with moments of laughter, sorrow and constant compassion. Their journeys aren't parallel, nor do they go at the same pace, but eventually they do reach a better emotional state. Lindsay-Abaire also paces moods well, allowing the audience to process what's happening and to marvel at the playwright's skill.
The play is in good hands, especially those of the four adult principals. B. Modern outfits them in costumes that are compatible with their characters, while Jeff Mockus provides the sound, featuring guitar music before each act. San Jose Rep is lucky to be staging the play shortly after it won the Pulitzer, and San Jose Rep audiences are lucky to have the chance to see it.