Farmington Players Open RABBIT HOLE, 2/15

Webster's Dictionary defines a "rabbit hole" as "a bizarre or difficult state or situation" - usually used in the phrase "down the rabbit hole." After falling down the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Alice discovered a nonsensical universe that altered her perspective on life.

In playwright David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole, opening February 15th at The Farmington Players Barn Theater, a couple struggles to put their lives back together after the accidental death of their child. Laurel Stroud of Redford Township plays Becca and Jay McNeil of West Bloomfield plays her husband Howie. As they battle to return to "normal" and reunite as a couple, each copes with the tragedy in very different and often conflicting ways. This contrast is most stark in the way each relates to Jason (played by Joel Hunter of Commerce Twp.), the young man who accidentally killed their son.

While the play is a poignant drama about loss and reconciliation, "Rabbit Hole is not about the death of a child," according to director Brian Tupper of Farmington Hills. Instead, he says it explores "the way the parents and loved ones grieve the loss. It's an examination of the healing process for those whose life carries on." Tupper points out, "that the people don't grieve the same way.

Each person is finding their own road, questioning their faith and belief system along the way. And ultimately it is how love and family can be an enduring foundation on which to build a way forward."

Despite the serious subject matter, the play has its light and funny moments, with comic relief often provided by Becca's sister Izzy, played by Kelly Rose Voigt of Farmington. Voight says playwright David Lindsay-Abaire describes Rabbit Hole as "two-thirds drama and one-third comedy." She believes "Izzy fits right into the comedic third, giving the audience a break from the sadness of Becca and Howie's journey. "I love comedy and making people laugh, which makes this role a great fit for me," says Voight. "I also love Izzy's outspoken nature and her loyalty to her family. Even if she doesn't always like her family, it is clear that she loves them."

Director Brian Tupper also believes, "our sorrows are sometimes best counter balanced by humor." But getting the balance right can be tricky at times. As he says, "The challenge is to allow the sorrow and anger these characters experience not to completely engulf the audience. The author has sprinkled his play with bits of humor and grace that serve to balance things. The trick is to be sure they do."

Tupper is teaming up once again with his wife Cynthia who plays Becca and Izzy's mother, Nat. Cynthia is excited about her complex character. "The beauty of Nat is that she does provide some of the comic relief, but she is counter balanced with sensitivity and pathos even when you don't expect it with her brash personality," says Cynthia Tupper. "It's a fine line to balance, but like most people she has good qualities and bad qualities ... but the positive outweighs the negative and she is mostly likeable--although you can understand why she drives her daughters crazy!"

The Tuppers have been members of The Farmington Players for over 30 years (and board members several times), and work together very well. The couple won the prestigious Distinguished Service to the Arts award last year in Farmington Hills. In addition to being onstage (Cynthia in 28 shows, Brian in 10), the couple's many talents include directing (Cynthia 12 shows, Brian 7), stage design and construction (Brian 20 sets), sound design (Brian 22 shows), and costume design and creation (Cynthia 59 shows).

Rabbit Hole runs from February 15th to March 2nd at the Barn Theater, 32332 West Twelve Mile Road, Farmington Hills.

Reserved seats for this drama sponsored by the Center for Financial Planning, Inc. are available now at or at the box office

(248) 553-2955.

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