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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Suffering family’s tragic events get better in play ‘Rabbit Hole’

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW
Ben Crop
Courtesy art of Leslie Gangl Howe and Elaine Arnett in the City College production of ‘Rabbit Hole’ by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Loss, betrayal, violence and harsh words. All families have experienced these painful aspects of reality at one point or another, but “Rabbit Hole” perfectly captures their causes and effects in a mere two hours.

“Rabbit Hole” is written by David Lindsay-Abaire and originally premiered on Broadway in 2006. Set in Larchmont, New York in 2006, the play exposes parallels to the underlying and timeless issues that every family faces.

Plagued by the death of their 4-year-old son Danny, Becca and Howie Corbett struggle to maintain a healthy marriage with the memory of Danny looming everywhere they turn.

Each scene offers an intense atmosphere, which is perfect considering the nature of the play. Audience members may feel as though they are in the living room with the characters, desperate for a break from the tension in the air.    

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While the rhythm of the play is admittedly slow in the first act, it quickly picks up and becomes more intriguing in the second act. The drama that unfolds and resolutions that occur in the second act are worth trudging through the first act for.

“Rabbit Hole” almost acts as a sort of therapy, showing the audience they are not alone in their struggles or fears, that the pain does not persist forever.

The play does not suggest that there is such thing as a happy ending or even that everything will work out the way we want in the end. However, it does suggest that there are ways to cope with the pain, that the tragic events in life eventually get a little easier to deal with.

As Becca, Lesli Gangl Howe’s character, edges closer to her true breaking point, she asks Nat, Elaine Arnett’s character, “Does it go away?…This feeling. Does it ever go away?”

Nat, who has also dealt with the death of a son, explains that the “weight” of the feeling eventually becomes “bearable” and easier to “carry around.”

Perhaps this is a piece of wisdom we could all learn to understand: it gets better.   

With so much tension, a character like Izzy, played by Shannon Saleh, is greatly appreciated. She is the comic relief of the play. Izzy’s sarcasm and humorous outbursts during family fights allow a breath of fresh air while drowning in so much grief and anger.

Each actor gives their all in order to portray the genuine emotions an actual family suffering from recent life shattering events would likely experience. “Rabbit Hole” is worth the emotional rollercoaster.  

Performances will continue April 14 to 29 in the Jurkowitz Theatre on West Campus.

Due to the small and intimate size of the theatre, late seating is not permitted.

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the Garvin Theatre Box Office at 805-965-5935 or visit the Theatre Group’s website at

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