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February 20, 2013

Latest Farmington Players production focuses on coping with loss

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

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Latest Farmington Players production focuses on coping with loss
Laurel Stroud of Redford Township and Cynthia Tupper of Farmington Hills share a scene in the heartfelt drama “Rabbit Hole.”

FARMINGTON — Director Brian Tupper admits the latest Farmington Players production, playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” isn’t for everyone.

But, he said, it’s a very realistic play that everyone can learn from.

“Rabbit Hole” is a drama that examines how a couple grieves and struggles to put their lives back together after their 4-year-old son is killed in a neighborhood automobile accident.

Becca, played by Laurel Stroud, of Redford Township, and her husband, Howie, played by Jay McNeil, of West Bloomfield, cope with the tragedy in very different and often conflicting ways, according to Tupper.

“It sort of examines that whole process and the healing process and how people can cope with loss. It’s a difficult play to describe,” he said. “What kind of drew me to the whole project is how well-written it is. How seemingly he lifted normal speech and put it on paper. It just flows so naturally and creates really, really nice characters onstage.”

Preparing for the role of Becca has been challenging, according to Stroud.

“When I think about the character, I think she, in my mind, got herself out of a bad situation; she’s always been in control, she’s always been able to figure out a solution, and this time she can’t, so that’s hard for her. So, her whole belief system is shaken. She’s mad at the people closest to her and she’s having a hard time working through it. That’s a different person to play. She doesn’t lash out, but there are times when she gets angry, but a lot of the time it’s just a simmering type of irritation, which is something I wanted to try and see if I could do,” she said.

While Stroud noted “Rabbit Hole” is a serious show dealing with a serious subject matter, she said there is some humor sprinkled in — thanks to comic relief, often provided by Becca’s sister Izzy, played by Kelly Rose Voigt, of Farmington — to give the audience a break from the sadness of the journey.

“It’s a nice look at some people going through a hard thing and they come out on the good side of it,” she said. “It’s a hopeful message. Bad things happen, but you can keep going, if you choose to do so,” Stroud said.

The play is thought-provoking, Tupper said, since it deals with a subject that a lot of people don’t necessarily want to talk about.

“I would encourage people to come out and allow the drama of the play to become thought-provoking, and it may help in understanding the situation that’s shown,” he said. “It will allow you to have an understanding of other folks who are going through the process and the idea that when people are grieving, you shouldn’t be afraid to give them some support, and talk to them, and interject yourself in their lives. It teaches you that you shouldn’t ignore people that are in the grieving process, because they really do need that support system.”

“Rabbit Hole” will be center stage at 8 p.m. Feb. 21-23, 2 p.m. Feb. 24 and 8 p.m. Feb.28-March 2 at the Barn Theater, 32332 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

“It’s a show that, once people see it, I think they will really appreciate it for what it is and they’ll walk out of it saying, ‘Wow, that was really well-done.’ That’s what we’re hoping for,” Tupper said.

Reserved seats, sponsored by the Center for Financial Planning Inc., are available at www.farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office by calling (248) 553-2955.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.