If you haven’t been to a Hovey Players production, now is the time. Director Michelle Aguillon and company are giving RABBIT HOLE (through March 29th) the best production of it I’ve seen yet. (Yes, it’s even better than the Huntington’s.) David Lindsay-Abaire’s hip, smart, surprisingly gentle play about grief over the death of a child lovingly nudges its characters toward acceptance. The journey for them is divisive, painful and often sardonically funny (especially when the pushy grandmother arrives). For us, it’s endearing, amusing and finally, uplifting.
Lindsay-Abaire invents outlandish characters like the child’s aunt (Brooke Casanova), whose out-of-control life, she thinks, will magically come together if she gets pregnant. It’s her sister (Katie Gluck) whose son has died. She’s fallen into a deep depression which only lifts when she makes an unusual, unexpected human connection. Her exasperated husband (Alex Thayer) is ready to give up on her when she doesn’t seem to want help, from him or anyone. (The playwright miraculously keeps the subject matter miles away from TV “movie of the week” territory.)
Aguillon’s cast is extraordinary, deftly mining the humor in the piece without sacrificing the pathos. Maureen Adduci, as the acerbic grandmother, tries her daughter’s patience but never comes across as unfeeling. Jordan DiGloria is the optimistic student who believes in parallel universes and worm holes but never seems anything but genuine. Best of all, the company manages a Zen finish for the play by slowing down time itself so that we can savor the lovely, emotional, redemptive ending.