Full Circle Theater produces strong 'Rabbit Hole'

Rabbit HoleWho DCS Full Circle Theater  Where 812 N Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13208 When Through April 28 Tickets $20 Review by Lauren Smart

Bring your tissues to the St. Clare Theater for DCS Full Circle Theater’s production of the Pulitzer-Prize winning drama “Rabbit Hole” running through April 28. In her inaugural production, Jen DeCook crafted David Lindsay-Abaire’s subtle drama with sharp, naturalistic acting and a living room set that’s realistic to a fault.

Centered on Becca and Howie who lost their little boy in a tragic accident, the play deals with the darkest shades of grief. Months have passed since Danny ran in front of a car when he chased a dog into the street and Becca is ready to move on. We meet her as she is packing up his clothes to send to Goodwill and her sister Izzy (a delightfully snarky Sara Caliva) has swung by with the announcement that she’s pregnant.

Shannon Tompkins captures Becca’s mellow anger as it trickles into sorrow. Layers of tension between Tompkins’ timid anger and David Walker’s clear-eyed sadness as Howie overwhelm the space with a heart-wrenching melancholy.

Howie retains self-control until Jason (an incredibly strong performance by Nick Ziobro) shows up hoping to apologize for driving “maybe a little bit too fast.” Walker’s ability to melt into rage demonstrates the depth of his despair in a poignant way.

DeCook chose to flip the St. Clare Theater, putting the audience on the stage, which opens the auditorium to a full-size living room. While lifelike, this decision causes the high-pitched female voices to fade about halfway into the audience and Caliva might be the only actor who bothers to take advantage of the full space, plopping down on the loveseat and rummaging through the fully stocked kitchen.

Nora O’Dea’s touching light-headedness delivers the play’s most poignant message about the emptiness that comes with loss, “It's kinda... not that you like it exactly, but it's what you have instead of your son, so you don't wanna let go of it either. So you carry it around.”

Don’t miss out on a chance to see this powerful play about love, loss and finding comfort.