Rabbit Hole; The Santaland Diaries | On the Boards | Indy Week
Pin It

Rabbit Hole; The Santaland Diaries 

Rabbit Hole
Manbites Dog Theater, Durham
Through Dec. 22
www.manbitesdogtheater.org

The playwright's title winks at us, while the company's promotional material promises a "bittersweet comedy" to "share with your family this holiday season." As a result, those expecting the pratfalls—or even the redemptive laughter—of David Lindsay-Abaire's previous works are likely to feel they've been rabbit-punched well before the end of Rabbit Hole.

Yes, we laugh as Izzy (a tart Nicole Quenelle), the streetwise younger sister of Becca (Katja Hill), appalls her with an account of her latest combination of bar fight and romance. Later, their mother Nat (Marcia Edmundson) demonstrates a Kennedy family obsession that provides a gleeful moment of poor taste before it sparks the implosion of another family gathering—itself, one of the playwright's signature moves. But, particularly in the last example, Lindsay-Abaire keeps the comic well separated from the relief. A queasy sense of old wounds reopened negates the early, easy laughter. Repeatedly, we think someone's going to get hurt, just before we realize that someone already has been.

During the play's endgame, Jeff Storer's direction and the acting of Hill and Derrick Ivey make it clear that husband and wife, though together, are fundamentally alone, gripped in the icy isolation of their own grief. It's one of the most compelling portrayals of loss I've seen in months on the regional stage. It is also verifiably no comedy at all. Still, the integrity of such moments is one of the things that makes Rabbit Hole well worth seeing. —Byron Woods


The Santaland Diaries
Common Ground Theatre, Durham
Through Dec. 22
www.cgtheatre.com

Common Ground Theatre carries the torch of cynical Christmas spirit with its third annual production of The Santaland Diaries. Starring, for the first time, local improv actor Dan Sipp, this one-man show gleefully wrings the compulsory cheer out of Christmas.

David Sedaris, in his original readings on radio, related his tales with a certain amount of resignation to the decline of humanity, while Sipp's interpretation adds a level of exasperation that feels more fitting to the present day. While Sipp's approach nails what's wrong with the world, it almost misses the beats when Sedaris earnestly evokes holiday magic. Fortunately, he doesn't, but the close calls are a useful warning to all of us cynics this holiday season. —Megan Stein

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in On the Boards

  • American Dance Festival's 2010 lineup

    They're back to a full schedule of 13 presentations. Once again, the season tilts heavily in favor of companies and artists seen before.
    • Mar 31, 2010
  • Choreo Collective's Current Collection

    The limited and decidedly legato movement dynamics we saw too frequently in most of the seven works suggested deflated kinespheres whose slow leaks, over time, remain in need of repair.
    • Mar 31, 2010
  • <i>Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders</i>

    Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders

    Local playwright Howard L. Craft's new work explores the lives of U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany with realism and humor.
    • Nov 4, 2009
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Comments

This is very embarrassing situation for those two women who accidentally wears similar dress.
www.karinherzog.com …

by carissachurchill on Five Women Wearing the Same Dress; Urinetown: The Musical (On the Boards)

Excuse me but, if the company created a performance of Skriker which was oblique and the audience left feeling confused …

by Edwin Davies on The Skriker; more (On the Boards)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation