by Danielle Storley
Intense emotion and genuine acting shared the stage recently during the Pensacola State College Theater Department’s presentation of the play “Rabbit Hole” at the Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium.
A contemporary drama about the grief of a couple recovering from losing their four-year-old son, the play was directed by Rodney Whatley. The grieving parents were portrayed by Jennifer Godwin as Becca and Kip Hayes as Howie.
The powerful play filled the stage with intensity and life changing moments. Friction and moments of grief between Howie and Becca sparked emotion in the audience at every intense scene. The play’s comic relief came from Maia Kavchak who, as Izzy, deflated the tension with her quirky character.
The acting was genuine and so were the audience’s tears.
One moved audience member remarked: “People could benefit from this. I’m crying and I came prepared for this show.”
The sets consisted of balloons hung from the ceiling in an array of colors and the backdrop changed to fit the emotions during each new scene. Every subtle door slam, dog bark, and uncomfortable silence kept the audience in the moment.
“This is the best audience I’ve ever seen,” said cast member Joshua Brown.
After the show, Jennifer Holler, a Children’s Support Specialist and Holly Herring, Director of Children and Family Support Services from Covenant Hospice provided grief-counseling support to those who had lost a child or family member.
Over 35 people filled the seats and were given free lip balm, pamphlets, and candy for participating. Everyone who participated shared his or her own stories and feelings evoked from the play.
“It was finding hope that you discover in a pivotal moment and every theme and line are actual key words that families have said,” said Holler, as she educated the audience about the signs of grief.
“It’s (the play) ugly but it’s blunt and it’s real,” said Whatley.
“Getting to peek into the window of families, happening live, it’s eye opening for me. This play helped me and made me feel a bit better,” Herring said.