A five-star faculty play: “Rabbit Hole”

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Mitu

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE: The teachers perform a scene as a family during the play on opening night.

Erin Kim, Staff Writer

Northwood High School’s first faculty play, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rabbit Hole,” was performed on Nov. 7-9, showcasing the collaboration between the teachers’ acting talents and the student crew’s diligent preparation. Their efforts created a successful production that sold out on two of the three nights.

“Rabbit Hole” by American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire tells a story of grief, as characters Becca (health teacher Brooke Leys) and Howie (acting coach Ian Roettger) learn to cope with the loss of their 4-year-old son, Danny, familial conflicts arise with Becca’s mother Nat (English teacher Marina Alburger) and sister Izzy (Spanish teacher Jillary Gordon) that must be resolved.

The play conveys a message about dealing with loss, leaving audiences in tears and laughter.

“Many aspects of the play were really touching because I can’t imagine how painful it is to lose someone I love, ” sophomore Yenna Kim said. “But, at the same time, it was super funny because Becca’s sister Izzy’s lines were so crude and bold.”

The actors seemed to naturally connect with their characters, passionately conveying their emotions. Leys found that her shared characteristics with Becca as a mom allowed her to empathize with Becca’s loss.

“My high school best friend lost her baby after birth, so I was with someone who went through the grieving process,” Leys said. “I know that not every couple deals with issues in the same way and that family dynamics can be complicated.”

This emotional preparation, along with the memorization of lines and movements, were apparent in the production, as the audience felt immersed in the play.

The characters felt like real people, expressing genuine emotions, and the small Black Box provided a sense of intimacy that a large theater could not.

“I think that the teachers have more experiences that can help them better portray certain emotions of grief,” junior Haylie Judd said. “They did a great job with addressing the heavier topics without making it feel uncomfortable to watch.”

As the actors rehearsed to put on this heart-warming performance, the crew, including hair and makeup, costumes, props and lighting, worked diligently to put on a smooth transitioning, realistic production.

“It was challenging to work with teachers instead of students, as it’s a different dynamic, and to work in the Black Box rather than the theater, but in the end it was a good learning experience for me,” costumes head junior Alex Rothman said.

Because “Rabbit Hole” was a faculty play, actors, crew and viewers alike felt that it brought new perspectives to everyone involved.

“It’s fun for students to see us in different roles and understand that we are real people who do normal things like cuss and go grocery shopping,” Gordon said.