RWTG presented the Pulitzer-prize winning play Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay Abaire, at the AGPA 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego. The performance was followed by an audience discussion moderated by Molly Donovan. The cast featured Maryetta Andrews-Sachs, John Dluhy, Hallie Lovett, Rosemary Segalla, and Rob Williams. Bob Schulte directed the play.
Rabbit Hole explores the complicated grief reactions and recovery process of a family that has lost a four-year-old son in an auto accident. In the program note, dramaturge Molly Donovan offered the audience some perspective in advance of the performance.
“It is true that after the death of a child, one’s life is never again the same. In Rabbit Hole we enter into the forever-changed lives of Becca and Howie eight months after the death of their four-year-old son, Danny, in an accident. Reminders of Danny are everywhere, and these two parents react to them in different ways. Finding how to be with each other in their disparate ways of mourning involves many missteps and painful clashes. An angry Becca accuses Howie of thinking that she is “not mourning…in the right way.” Thrown into the mix are Becca’s mother and sister, each struggling with her own feelings about the loss of this little boy. The family’s recovery is both enhanced and complicated by the appearance of Jason, the young driver of the car that killed Danny, who is seeking his own redemption.
Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire presents us with the details of this family’s attempts to re-shape their lives in a sensitive and real portrayal of their sometimes clumsy ways of dealing with each other in this difficult situation. A subject that could be sentimentalized and made maudlin becomes one where real people are stumbling through grief and bumping into each other in very believable ways. They support each other in the ways they can. Nat, Becca’s mother, who has also suffered the loss of a son, tells her daughter that the feeling never goes away, but that ‘at some point, it becomes bearable’.”
The Annual Meeting was a unique opportunity to share with our colleagues a very powerful drama with relevance both professionally and personally for many in attendance. In reflecting on the audience discussion that followed the reading, Dr. Donovan observed: “There was what seemed to be a reverential silence in the audience after the performance as people seemed to be finding words to express their reactions. What then followed was an appreciation of the performance and of the many nuances of the play, reactions to various aspects of the production, notably its simplicity, some heartfelt associations to personal losses, and ultimately recognition of the group process of the characters shared enterprise, unfolding over the course of the play.”
We very much appreciate the innovative spirit of the Annual Meeting Conference Committee that has encouraged creative ways of teaching group psychotherapy principles to clinicians of all skill levels and experience. The Annual Meeting is the premiere group training conference in North America and we invite anyone who has not attended the Meeting before to consider joining in next February in New York City. And for theater lovers there are many Broadway and Off-Broadway venues within walking distance of the conference hotel.