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TRC’s Production of “Rabbit Hole”

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“Rabbit Hole” Springs to Life

Meagan Cole

Last semester, Theater Roanoke College performed “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”—an uplifting and all around hilarious musical about the hardships of growing out of adolescence. Those who saw the production agree that it was incredibly well done, so much so that some claim it was better than professional performances they had seen in the past.

Well, the same director who brought the Roanoke College community “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, Lisa Warren, is running the show this weekend. TRC’s first performance of the semester, “Rabbit Hole” is open February 20-23. “Rabbit Hole” was written by David Lindsay-Abaire and well known for its film adaptation starring Nicole Kidman. However, the show brings an unexpected twist for our returning audiences; the content of this particular play is quite serious and deeply moving in a way that has never been seen before on the Olin Hall Main Stage.

Contrary to popular belief, “Rabbit Hole” is not about “Alice in Wonderland”, nor does it have anything to do with Lewis Carroll’s classic. In fact, the rabbit hole refers to a scientific term—very mechanical and almost desperate, just like what the play is really about. Freshman and anticipated Computer Science major, Kimi Halverson says, “It’s about a family trying to get through their everyday lives coping with a tragedy, even when the biggest surprises are being thrown their way. They go through their lives not depressed, but more upbeat and automatic, attempting to move on despite what’s happened.”

Kimi, born and raised in Virginia, now calling home to Edenton, North Carolina, plays Izzy—her very first role outside of Acting classes last semester. “[Izzy is] the younger sister in the family. She’s seen as more free-spirited and colorful than her older sister, though she is more immature in different ways. Despite her flighty appearance and carefree attitude, however, she does care about her family a lot.”

On the other hand, Johnny Camacho is a veteran at TRC and 2012 graduate from Bath County. He plays Howie Corbett and says, “On the most basic level, the play is about grief and the many ways that people process it. Some people close themselves off, others act out, many seek help, and some deflect with humor.” The second male character, Jason, is played by Zack Conner—a Senior from Indiana.

Becca, the older sister of Izzy, is played by Mandy Adleman, a Senior Theatre major from South Carolina, whose performance in “Rabbit Hole” nailed her a coveted 5 Questions segment with the staff of the RC News Blog. “It’s about living with loss and stumbling upon hope in the process.” Mandy also confesses that this is her most challenging role yet. Madeline Hooker agrees.

From Warrenton, VA, Madeline plays Nat, the mother of Becca and Izzy, while also juggling the workload of a Junior history major. Unlike Mandy who previously appeared in “Almost, Maine”, Madeline is yet another cast member new to the TRC stage. “It’s more intensive than what I’ve previously experienced, but the relationships between cast and crew are much closer. There’s a real sense of community and we all look out for one another.”

Even those on the other side of the curtain as crew say that their involvement in “Rabbit Hole” has shaped their appreciation for what the theatre can show its audience. “Working on the show has been a wonderful opportunity.” According to Shae Kleinschmidt, the co-Stage Manager alongside Rachael Karns, “I am honored to have worked with such a talented group of people. It’s been a great run since the get-go and I’m anticipating an excellent show.” The Freshman to-be Theatre major and Spanish minor came in with professional experience, doubling the worth of her praise.

In fact, the major difference beyond the script itself is the work behind the scenes. “Rabbit Hole” is being staged in ¾ round as opposed to proscenium, meaning the audience is seated onstage with the actors, and such close proximity influences each cast member differently. Nevertheless, everyone agrees that it takes a certain level of confidence to succeed in such. “The round is a much more intense, heightened aspect of theatre. The audience is much more present and you have to be more aware of where you’re standing,” says Mandy. And, Kimi acknowledges the importance, “Everyone can focus very closely on the action and expressions of the characters, which is a big part of the scenes in the play.” Johnny, however, summarizes the experience the best, “The round is a much more intense, heightened aspect of theatre. The audience is much more present and you have to be more aware of where you’re standing, but everything else is the same.”

Everything else is the same, and “Rabbit Hole” promises to be yet another worthwhile performance. Seats are very limited, so be sure to get tickets in the Olin Hall Box Office, weekdays between the hours of 1-4 PM. Doors open at 7 PM and are free for students. Non-Roanoke College students have a $3 discount, while the regular price equates to $5. Come out and support all the time and effort that’s been put into TRC these past several weeks.

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