by Danielle Storley
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Pensacola State College’s Performing Arts Department will present the Pulitzer Prize winning play “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Blaire as this year’s spring production. The play centers on a couple’s struggle with grief after losing their four-year-old child.
“Why do bad things happen to good people and how do you survive the aftermath?” said Pensacola State Theater Department Director Rodney Whatley. “I want to make the audience uncomfortable – like they are actually watching real people dealing with this tragedy.”
Following the tragic shooting of elementary school students in December, Whatley believes the play’s themes could help ease people’s minds.
“I think this is an opportunity to help our community deal with the recent events in Newtown, CT,” Whatley said. “Even though the event was far away, many in our community are struggling with the grief and the horror and are having a hard time healing.”
Students auditioning for the production echoed Whatley’s sentiment.
“I always thought that seriousness in a play reaches the audience and I want to connect with this particular family,” said Student Alex Csaszar. “Humanism is in everyone and I want the audience to have a deep connection with my performance.”
“With everything that’s been going on I feel as though if there’s something that I can do to help and touch the hearts of anybody through my talent,” stated Alexa Mcknight.
Whatley has invited community groups that deal with issues related to the play – grief counseling, mental health – to participate via presentations and informational displays during the play’s run. Parents Against Injustice and Negligence (PAIN) is a support group that aims to help Pensacola mothers overcome tragedy of homicide and will be taking part in the activities to raise awareness. PAIN was formed in December and offers group therapy sessions, some through faith, that help victims to cope with their loss and to show these mothers who have lost children that they are not alone.
“Even after you bury your child, you still have to go through a process,” said PAIN President Lavon Brown.
Tickets are free for students. General admission is $11 and can be purchased online at www.pensacolastate.edu/Lyceum or the Ashmore Auditorium box office. For more information, call 850-484-1847.
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